Rahul Gandhi seeks more time to reply to EC notice on poll code violation

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Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. (PTI photo) Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. (PTI photo)
SummaryThe BJP had lodged a formal complaint with the EC accusing him of having violated the model code of conduct.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Monday sought a week's more time to reply to the model code violation notice by the Election Commission's for his remark that Pakistani's ISI was in touch with Muzaffarnagar riot victims, citing his prior travel commitments and holidays due to the festive season.

Gandhi, who was asked to reply to the EC notice by 11.30 am today, said in his communication to Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath that he wanted more time to respond since there were holidays due to the festive season. He said he had received the EC notice only at 9.30 pm on October 31 and hardly had time to consult his lawyers on the issue.

The Congress leader also cited prior travel commitments for not responding the notice within the stipulted time. EC sources said the Commission is considering Gandhi's communication.

Violation of model code

The EC had issued a notice to Gandhi for his speeches in which he had said Pakistan's ISI was in touch with Muzaffarnagar riot victims and charged BJP with indulging in politics of hatred.

The Commission, after examining Gandhi's speeches made in Churu, Rajasthan, on October 23 and in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, on October 24 and after taking into account the electoral officer's report, had asked him to explain by Monday why action should not be initiated against him for prima facie violating the Model Code of Conduct.

"The Commission is prima facie of the view that your aforesaid speeches are violative of above-referred sub paras (1), (2) and (3) of Para 1 of the Model Code of Conduct for political parties and candidates," the EC notice served on him had said. Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are among five states which go to Assembly polls in November-December this year.

The Commission has said that in case no reply is received within the prescribed time limit, it will be presumed that he has nothing to say and it will proceed to take appropriate action without any further reference.

What the model code says

The model code prescribes that "no party or candidate shall indulge in any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic".

It also states that "criticism of other political parties...based on unverified allegations or distortion shall be avoided" and that "there shall be no appeal to caste or communal

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