The Congress on Thursday complained to the Election Commission against the BJP's Karnataka unit for "getting published false and misleading advertisements" in newspapers to malign the public image of Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
The Congress said it was a violation of the Model Code of Conduct as the print advertisements were published with an intent to malign their leaders' images by "levelling false and unverified allegations and distortions against them".
The party urged the EC to enquire into and take strict and prompt action against the state BJP leadership. It also said this is "clearly a sign of BJP's frustration".
Congress leaders, including Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Rajeev Shukla and Pramod Tiwari, submitted a memorandum to Chief Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat.
"We bring to your kind notice the blatant violation of the Model Code of Conduct by the Karnataka BJP in the ensuing Assembly elections.
"Your kind attention is drawn to specific incidents of publishing false and misleading advertisements in various newspapers on Thursday across the state with the object of securing votes by casting undue influence on unsuspecting voters," said the memorandum.
"The Karnataka BJP has made false, baseless, unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations using cutouts, shadow images and likeness of Rahul Gandhi and Siddaramaiah being fully aware that the Model Code was in force," it added.
Singhvi later told reporters: "We told the EC about the highly objectionable advertisements being released in Karnataka. They are highly objectionable not only because they are a direct violation of the MCC but also of the criminal law.
"The Indian Penal Code and Representation of the People Act have been quoted... there are provisions to prevent inflammatory, provocative, divisive and personal enmity between groups."
Singhvi claimed that attempts to gain electorally were happening in a brazen manner.
"We have demanded and immediate stop on these. Also, we are advising our Karnataka leaders to take action, including filing of an FIR and following it up."