Congress moves EC against Modi’s khooni panja remark

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SummaryThe Congress on Sunday, approached the Election Commission (EC) seeking “stern action” against Modi.

The Congress on Sunday, approached the Election Commission (EC) seeking “stern action” against BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for referring to its poll symbol as khooni panja at an election rally. The party said it was a calculated attempt to depict the Congress in the worst possible light and “caused people to fear the party”. It asserted that his remarks were a violation of the provisions of the model code of conduct.

The move comes just days after the BJP approached the EC with a petition against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for his allegation that the BJP was pitting Hindus and Muslims against each other for electoral benefit. While Gandhi has replied to the EC notice, the poll body is yet to decide on it. The EC has, however, in its notice to Rahul noted that prima facie it seemed that his remarks were in violation of the code.

In its complaint against Modi and the BJP sent by Secretary of AICC legal department K C Mittal, the Congress said “the use of the expression khooni panja is extremely significant and deplorable” and that the term khooni panja (bloodied hand) directly accuses the party of being involved in heinous activities.

Addressing a rally in Dongargarh in Chhattisgarh on Thursday, Modi had urged the electorate to save the state from the khooni panja and vote for the BJP. The Congress argued that the manner in which Modi referred to its symbol saying it would lead to Chhattisgarh’s ruin was “calculated to depict the party and its symbol in the worst possible light.”

The complaint argues that Modi used “derogatory language” against the EC since the symbol was allotted by the Commission in the first place.

“The tone, tenor and language used by him (Modi) show that he has deliberately used abusive words. The code permits criticism of other parties, their policies and programme and their past record of work, but the statement made by him is not a criticism as contemplated under this clause, but he is using intemperate language which is malicious and defamatory... He has distorted the facts deliberately to mislead the public at large. Since this programme is also being televised by the electronic media, these statements are also shown in different parts of the country,” it said.

The BJP is equally guilty for violation of code, it argued.

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