The Election Commission on Wednesday took strict action against media houses for airing an interview of Rahul Gandhi. EC asked TV channels to “forthwith stop” airing interviews of Gandhi as they violated the election law and directed the Gujarat poll authorities to lodge an FIR against those involved for infringement of legal provisions. While addressing a press conference, the poll panel said the Congress president talked about the Gujarat Assembly elections where the polling for the second phase will be held on Thursday. “Such display falls within the definition of “election matter” under Section 126 (3) of Representation of the People Act, 1951 and display of such election matter within 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in the poll- going areas, amounts to a violation of Section 126 (1)(b) of Representation of the People Act, 1951,” it said.
In the statement, the commission has asked the Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat” to initiate necessary action by filing FIR against those who have violated the above-mentioned provisions in phase two districts in Gujarat. Further, those TV channels which are violating the provisions of Section 126 (1)(b] by displaying said election matter in phase two district in Gujarat have been directed to forthwith stop the display of such matter”.
Election Commission also asked Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi to reply by 5 pm on 18th December over why he gave the interview to TV Channels. It said, “Explain why action should not be taken against you for violating provisions of MCC, failing which Commission will decide matter without any further reference to you.”
BB Swain, Chief Electoral Officer, Gujarat, said,”We have been directed by the EC to take actions by filing FIR against violation of 126 (1) (b) of Representation of People Act 1951 in the areas going to polls tomorrow and we are working on it.”
The poll panel stated that it had received reports and complaints that some of the TV channels in Gujarat have aired interview given by Gandhi in which he had talked about the ongoing state election.