Rahul gets EC notice for speech in M.P.

He must furnish reply within 48 hours

The Election Commission on Wednesday served a notice on Congress president Rahul Gandhi for a speech at Shahdol in Madhya Pradesh on April 23. He has been asked to reply within 48 hours.

The Commission received a complaint from the BJP against Mr. Gandhi on April 27, alleging that he had said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had brought in a new law for tribal communities, which had a line providing that the tribal people could be shot at.

Mr. Gandhi allegedly said the law provided that the tribal groups would be attacked. “They snatch away your land, jungle and water …and then, say that the tribal people can be shot at,” he said, according to the complaint.

The EC sought a report from the Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer, who submitted the transcript of the speech and his comments on Tuesday. After examining them, the Commission issued the notice.

‘Is it Modi code?’

Earlier, expressing disappointment over the Election Commission’s clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his recent speech in Wardha, the Congress asked, “Is it model code of conduct or ‘Modi code of conduct?.’”

In the speech, Mr. Modi slammed Mr. Gandhi for contesting from Wayanad in Kerala, and indicated that the constituency had more voters from the minority community. The EC on Tuesday held that the speech did not violate the provisions of the model code.

“Disappointed that the PM of India is permitted to go scot-free after rampant violation of Article 324 & MCC. It is now crystal clear that MCC has become ‘Modi Code of Conduct’!” Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted. “There cannot be two sets of laws for Prime Minister Modi and the rest of the country,” he said.

The party has also moved the Election Commission against alleged misuse of the Prime Minister’s Office to collect advance information about places where Mr. Modi is set to campaign.

The Opposition also asked the poll watchdog to issue directives against the holding of a rally by the Prime Minister at Sagar in Madhya Pradesh on May 6. The Congress claimed that the rally in Sagar could influence polling in the adjoining Damoh seat.

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