Rahul Gandhi was on Wednesday ticked off by the Election Commission, which expressed displeasure over the “tone, tenor and content” of certain remarks made during his poll campaign, and asked him to be more circumspect in future. Four days after Gandhi’s eight-page reply to the EC denying having violated the model code, the poll body did not buy his explanation, saying it was not satisfied with his contentions.
“While the Commission acknowledges the underlying intention and spirit of your impugned speeches to foster and promote communal harmony, it takes exception to the tone, tenor and content of the impugned portions of your speeches (extracted in the Commission’s notice) which are part of your said speeches... The Commission considers that the aforesaid portions of your speeches were not in consonance with the letter and spirit of the Model Code of Conduct which prohibits any speeches or statements which may tend to aggravate differences between different religious communities and which also prohibits criticism of other political parties on the basis of unverified allegations,” the five-page
EC order said.
The Commission said it is “not satisfied” with Gandhi’s explanation furnished in his reply to the Commission’s notice. “Now, therefore, having regard to the totality of facts and circumstances of the case and submissions and contentions made by you in your reply under reference, the Commission hereby conveys its displeasure and advises you to be more circumspect in your public utterances during election campaigns,” it said.
Gandhi was served a notice by the Commission on October 31 for model code violation over his remarks made in Churu on October 23 and in Indore in October, where he said Pakistan’s ISI was in touch with Muzaffarnagar riot victims and charged BJP with indulging in politics of hatred. Gandhi had pleaded not guilty to such charges while seeking to justify his controversial remarks. The BJP had made several representations to the EC against Gandhi’s remarks and demanded action against him.
The EC noted that Gandhi sought to justify his remarks at Churu and Indore contending that he has criticised only the policies and programmes of BJP based on facts established by various judicial commissions of enquiry and even by the guiding philosophy of that party as reflected in its website.