EC seeks reply from BJP for PM Modi’s hate speech in Rajasthan

The BJP had submitted a complaint accusing Rahul Gandhi of creating a North-South divide on the basis of language and region.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
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The Election Commission on Thursday, April 25 sought a reply from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President JP Nadda over the alleged hate speech by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a public event in Rajasthan’s Banswara. The Election Commission had earlier declined its comment on the hate speech allegations against PM Modi.

Invoking Section 77 of the Representation of the People’s Act, the EC held the heads of political parties responsible for the statement of a ‘star campaigner.’ “The Commission has taken a view that while the individual star campaigner would continue to remain responsible for speeches made, the commission will address the party president or head of the political party, on a case-to-case basis.” the notice read. 

The Congress had lodged a complaint with the ECI on April 22, accusing PM Modi of using religion and religious symbols to fuel animosity between communities. “The only available remedy compatible with the principle of zero tolerance towards allegations of corrupt practices, is the disqualification of the candidates who try to create a divide between different classes of the citizens of India regardless of the stature or position of that candidate,” a memorandum submitted by the party had said.

Other than the Congress, nearly 20,000 individuals, including various activists, had collectively penned two separate letters to the Election Commission, urging action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his comments describing them as disturbing and a direct offence to the sentiments of millions of Constitution-respecting Indian citizens. 

“The Prime Minister’s statements have disturbed the sentiments of millions of Constitution-respecting Indian citizens. The speech is dangerous and a direct attack on the Muslims of India,” they said in a petition to the ECI. They added that the Congress manifesto does not propose collecting information about gold owned by Hindu women and redistributing it among Muslims.

During a rally on April 21, PM Modi criticised the Congress, stating, “The Congress manifesto says they will calculate the gold belonging to mothers and sisters, obtain information about it, and then distribute that property to 'infiltrators' and 'those who have more children', in an obvious reference to Muslims. He also falsely claimed that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that Muslims have the first right to the country’s assets.

Meanwhile, EC also issued a notice to Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge over alleged hate speech by the party’s leader Rahul Gandhi. The BJP had submitted a complaint soon after the Congress submitted its memorandum against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing Rahul Gandhi of creating a North-South divide on the basis of language and region. They also said he falsely claimed that poverty had risen in the country. The EC has requested a response from both parties by 11 am on April 29th. 

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