The Election Commission said on Friday that the BJP failed to provide adequate documents to prove the allegations it made in various advertisements against the Congress government in Karnataka in the run-up to state Assembly elections.
The BJP had targeted Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and various schemes introduced by the Congress government in a series of television and online advertisements. The advertisements regularly appeared on television channels and also on YouTube.
A state-level committee set up by the Election Commission dismissed the BJP‚Äôs arguments that the party‚Äôs intention was ‚Äúto bring public attention to the government‚Äôs omissions‚ÄĚ. The BJP had insisted that the advertisements be aired without modifications.
The permission to air the advertisements was given to BJP state office secretary Ganesh Yaji on April 22.
On April 27, the Congress filed a complaint with the Election Commission and flagged the advertisements for making false accusations against Siddaramaiah and the party.
The Election Commission decided to put the advertisements on hold and gave the BJP time till May 1 to submit documents that support the charges made by the party in the advertisements.
On Friday, the EC said that the documents submitted by the BJP failed to support the allegations made in the advertisements and upheld the ban on the advertisements.
Three advertisements titled ‚ÄėJana Virodhi Sarkara‚Äô, ‚ÄėVipahala Sarkara‚Äô and ‚ÄėMooru Bhagya‚Äô have been recalled. Electronic and digital media have been restrained from broadcasting them.
In the first advertisement, a woman is seen stating that women do not feel safe in the state. "When the Lokayukta himself does not have security, then we fear for the security of common people,‚ÄĚ she says.
The advertisement says that the Congress government in the state is looking to divide people on the basis of caste and religion. It ends with a person asking whether we need this kind of government, and urges people to help BJP win.
The second advertisement focuses on the various misgivings that people have with regard to the Congress government and customarily ends with the message asking people to change the government to a BJP-led one.
The third lists the various schemes started by the Congress government in the state and claims that money was looted in each of the schemes. "Solar Power Tender ‚Äď Rs 800 crore pocketed. BBMP Waste segregation Tender ‚Äď Rs 400 crore pocketed," states the ad. It also says that the various 'Bhagya' schemes started by the government have also pocketed money, but does not name exact figures. The advertisement also highlights Siddaramaiah's watch, calling it a '10% commission watch'.
Meanwhile, the Congress on Friday also complained to the EC against BJP for "getting published false and misleading advertisements" in newspapers to malign the public image of Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
The party urged the EC to enquire into and take strict and prompt action against the state BJP leadership over them.
The BJP, which has consistently published advertisements in leading newspapers The Hindu, Vijayavani and Udayavani had earlier come under scrutiny for publishing print advertisements allegedly politicising rapes.