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  India   All India  14 Dec 2017  Election Commission notice to Rahul Gandhi for Gujarat interview

Election Commission notice to Rahul Gandhi for Gujarat interview

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Dec 14, 2017, 1:29 am IST
Updated : Dec 14, 2017, 1:29 am IST

Counting of votes for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections is scheduled for December 18.

Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi being greeted by village women during an election campaign in Dahod, Gujarat. (Photo: PTI)
 Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi being greeted by village women during an election campaign in Dahod, Gujarat. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: A wide-ranging, frank interview by Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi, summing up and analysing the BJP and the Congress’ election campaign, telecast a day before Gujarat votes in its second and final phase, created controversy with the Election Commission issuing a notice to Mr Gandhi for violating the model code of conduct.

The EC asked TV channels to stop airing the interview immediately and directed Gujarat chief election officer B.B. Swain to register FIRs against channels in Gujarat that telecast Mr Gandhi’s interview.

 

The EC’s notice to Mr Gandhi asks him to explain by 5 PM December 18 as to why action should not be taken against him for violating the model code of conduct.

Counting of votes for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections is scheduled for December 18.

Under the Representation of the People Act, model code of conduct kicks in 48 hours before polling day during which no campaigning is allowed in areas that are to vote. The interview in this case was given to a Gujarati channel and was telecast in areas that go to polls today.

Mr Gandhi, in his first interview as the Congress president-elect, claimed that the Congress Party would surprise everyone on December 18, the day of the results. “We will do very well. We will surprise you,” he said in an interview to Gujarati news channel GSTV telecast on Wednesday.

 

While reiterating that he did not approve of senior leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s comments on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he also said that unlike the BJP, he does not make personal attacks on his opponents.

“Modiji is the PM of India and we are not going to tolerate this type of language,” he said. Mr Aiyar had referred to the Prime Minister as a “neech admi” (vile man).

When asked about comments made against the Nehru-Gandhi family by the Prime Minister, Mr Gandhi said, “If you look at religion and the history of the nation, love has to be the response to hatred. There is zero emotion of anger and hatred in me… It is the nature of our family. Maybe the legend of Gujarat, Mahatma Gandhi taught this to our family.”

 

“Modiji has helped me the most... How can I hate him,” Mr Gandhi said, and added, “They (BJP) are not scared of Rahul Gandhi, they are scared of the voice of the people of Gujarat.”

Mr Gandhi also said in the interview that he has not undergone any “makeover” and added that the BJP has spent a lot of money to tarnish his image. “There is no makeover; the truth of Rahul Gandhi was being distorted by BJP workers. I speak the truth and that truth is coming out,” he said.

As soon as the interview was aired, the BJP charged that fearing defeat in Gujarat polls, Mr Gandhi has turned so desperate that he violated the model code of conduct by giving media interviews a day before the final phase of polling.

 

The Congress on its part accused chief minister Vijay Rupani and others of threatening journalists for airing Mr Gandhi’s interview and urged the Election Commission to take action against them, including registration of cases against them.

“We urge the Election Commission to take note of this and demand registration of cases against those threatening journalists,” Congress communication in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said.

A BJP delegation soon approached the EC and the commission issued a directive to the Gujarat chief electoral officer to lodge FIRs against TV channels that had telecast the interview. Immediately thereafter it issued a notice to Mr Gandhi.

 

After the EC’s notice to Mr Gandhi, a Congress delegation led by Ashok Gehlot, general secretary in-charge of Gujarat, rushed to the commission to lodge a complaint.

“If FIR against news channels for showing interview of Congress President, why no FIR against PM, FM, Union Minister & BJP president on this ground? Are these not double standards? Let there be accountability,” Mr Surjewala tweeted.

Mr Modi had addressed Ficci on Wednesday afternoon where he attacked the previous Congress-led UPA regime for NPAs, saying that banks were pressured to give loans worth thousands of crores of rupees to select industrialists in a scam bigger than 2G, coal and Commonwealth Games scams.

 

Tags: rahul gandhi, election commission, gujarat assembly polls
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi