The Representation of the People Act, 1951, section 126 states that public meetings are barred during the period of forty-eight hours before the elections.
With only a day left for the second phase of polls in the Gujarat assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party has filed a complaint to the Election Commission against Congress Party’s president-elect, Rahul Gandhi. It was highlighted by the BJP government that Rahul Gandhi violated the poll code of conduct. BJP leader and Union Minister Piyush Goyal said that he was not allowed to give an interview. He said, “I was not permitted to give an interview in the last 48 hours of campaigning in Gujarat. I am sure the Election Commission will take cognizance of this and take an action.” He was responding to Rahul Gandhi’s interview with Gujarat Samachar TV.
In the interview given to a local Gujarati channel, Rahul Gandhi continued with his criticism of the Goods and Services Tax and Demonetisation. As per the Model Code of Conduct set by the Election Commission, under its ‘General Conduct’ section, the point 4 states, “All parties and candidates shall avoid scrupulously all activities which are “corrupt practices” and offences under the election law, such as bribing of voters, intimidation of voters, impersonation of voters, canvassing within 100 meters of polling stations, holding public meetings during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for the close of the poll, and the transport and conveyance of voters to and from the polling station.”
Even the Representation of the People Act, 1951, section 126 states that public meetings are barred during the period of forty-eight hours before the elections.
Responding to the complaints raised by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat Elections, BB Swain said, “We have got a complaint regarding telecast of an interview. We have collected the DVDs. We will be doing due examination & look into whether it has violated Rules 126 RP Act or not.”
Latest TV reports state that Election Commission is all set to register FIR against local TV channels in Gujarat for airing Rahul Gandhi’s interview.
In response to the BJP complained to the EC, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala in a press conference accused BJP of allegedly threatening journalists. He said, “When Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi gave interviews to a few Gujarati news channels, BJP, in the name of Election Commission, threatened to jail the journalists of those channels for broadcasting it. We condemn this arrogant behaviour of BJP”.