ECI warns BJP, Congress over MCC violations by star campaigners

Election Commission of India. (IANS Photo)

Election Commission of India. (IANS Photo)

New Delhi, May 22 (IANS): The Election Commission of India on Wednesday issued notices to BJP and Congress over the recent statements made by their star campaigners violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in place for the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.

In letters to BJP President J.P. Nadda and Congress Chief Mallikarjun Kharge, the Commission said that the utterances of the concerned star campaigners follow patterns and create narratives that can be damaging beyond the MCC period.

“Technical loopholes or extreme interpretations of other political party's utterances cannot discharge them from this core responsibility of their own content, which ought to be corrective to the ongoing discourse and not further plummeting the quality of campaign discourse,” the poll panel said.

“Elections are a process when political parties not only contest to win, but also avail the opportunity to present themselves in their ideal best for the voting community to experience, emulate and build hopes on.

"The second part constitutes the more precious heritage of Indian elections and our electoral democracy which should not be allowed to be weakened by anyone, including your party,” it added.

The ECI directed the Congress to fully align its campaign methods to the practical aspects of the composite and sensitive fabric of India.

“The EC directs all your star campaigners to refrain from making any statement which is prohibited under Clause (1) of General Conduct of MCC which provides that "No party or candidate shall include in any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic',” the EC letter to Kharge read.

The poll panel also directed Kharge to convey to all the Congress star campaigners not to make statements that give false impressions such as that the Constitution of India may be abolished or sold.

The Commission also directed Nadda to convey to all the BJP star campaigners not to make speeches and statements that may divide the society.

“The EC directs BJP and its star campaigners to refrain from any campaigning methods/utterances along religious/communal lines,” read the letter to Nadda.

The Commission also directed the BJP chief to remain dutiful towards the special responsibility of the star campaigners of the party and issue formal notes to them to maintain decorum in their utterances.