Karnataka election: EC asks Congress to clarify, rectify ‘sovereignty’ remark attributed to Sonia Gandhi

The BJP approached the ECI seeking cancellation of the Congress’ registration as a party.

Sonia Gandhi, Karnataka
Sonia Gandhi during a poll campaign in Karnataka.

Following the controversy over Karnataka’s “sovereignty remark”, the Election Commission of India on Monday wrote to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge to “clarify and rectify” the party’s social media post which was attributed to former party chief Sonia Gandhi, reported PTI.

Gandhi, making her entry into the Karnataka elections in Hubbali on Saturday, hit out at the BJP saying it was involved in “loot, lies, ego and hatred”.

Later, a tweet from the Congress party’s account on May 6 read, “CPP Chairperson Smt. Sonia Gandhi ji sends a strong message to 6.5 crore Kannadigas: “The Congress will not allow anyone to pose a threat to Karnataka’s reputation, sovereignty or integrity.”

BJP approaches Election Commission

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday approached the poll body seeking cancellation of the Congress’ registration as a party. It also urged to file and initiate “exemplary punitive action” against Gandhi over her alleged ‘sovereignty’ remarks.

The BJP’s memorandum to the EC was based on the Congress’ tweet. The BJP delegation led by Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav had approached the poll body on the last day of campaigning for the May 10 polls.

Yadav said that the use of the word “sovereignty” was deliberate and it was the “agenda of the tukde-tukde gang”.

“The Congress is using words against the unity and integrity of India that should not have been used. The Election Commission heard our issues with seriousness,” Yadav said.

The memo was also signed by Yadav, Union minister Jitendra Singh, and BJP leaders Tarun Chugh, Anil Baluni and Om Pathak.

“To suggest secession, even remotely, to the people of Karnataka, who were at the forefront of India’s Independence movement and who have post-Independence led in the fields of art, culture, education, industry and trade, amounts to insulting and humiliating the people of Karnataka,” it said.

Chugh cited the Representation of the People Act and further demanded that the Congress party be derecognised.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also raised the issue in his public meetings on Sunday accusing the Congress party of openly advocating for “separating” Karnataka from India. He alleged that the disease of the “tukde-tukde gang” (anti-national elements) has reached the Congress’ top level.

Congress attacks BJP

Meanwhile, Congress attacked the BJP saying it rejected the “fakery and falsehood being perpetuated by the PM”.

“The desperation of PM Modi and the BJP is glaring as they seek to clutch at straws for want of a narrative in Karnataka. We reject the fakery and falsehood being perpetuated by the PM as he refuses to answer a single question on why the BJP is denigrating the ‘swabhimaan’ of Karnataka,” Surjewala said, as quoted by The Indian Express.

He asked the PM to answer why the BJP-Shiv Sena government of Maharashtra has “extended its schemes to 865 villages in Karnataka”.

“Is this not a naked breach of federalism? Why are Kannadiga youths not being permitted to take the CRPF exam in Kannada by the Modi government? Why was the tableau of Narayan Guru not permitted by the Modi government in the Republic Day parade?” Surjewala asked.

Meanwhile, Congress has sought action against BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP president J P Nadda and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, over statements made during the Karnataka poll campaign.

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First published on: 09-05-2023 at 10:09 IST