Any speech made in Delhi, Mumbai or Bhopal cannot become a subject matter of violation of the Model Code of Conduct in force in the five poll-bound states and yet the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday petitioned the Election Commission for action against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for a speech made in Delhi on January 11.
In a 7-page memorandum, it accused Rahul of making “religious comments” at the “Jan Vedna Sammelan”, an anti-demonetisation convention, organised by the Congress in the Talkatora Stadium here. A Congress spokesman, however, said Rahul did not make any appeal for votes and he rather gave a secular speech by referring to all religions.
Rahul had claimed in his speech about a strange phenomenon of the Congress party’s “Hand” symbol he noticed in the photograph of Lord Shiva. He explored further and found “Hand” symbol also in the photographs of Guru Nanak, Lord Buddha, Mahavir and Hazrat Ali. He said he also consulted Dr Karan Singh (Congress MP and an authority on religions) who said the “Hand” symbol is seen in all religions be it Islam, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jainism or even Jews.
A 6-member delegation, led by Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, urged the Election Commission to take cognizance of Rahul’s communal utterance, take action against him and “suspend or withdraw the recognition of the Indian National Congress from contesting the elections.
The EC’s notification issued on January 4 while announcing the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur, however, limits the model code to only these five states as it says “all the provisions of the Model Code will apply to the whole of Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.”
A circular issued by the EC for the guidance of political parties and candidates also states that “during general elections to the Legislative Assembly, the code is applicable in the entire state.”