EC notice to Himanta Sarma, Priyanka Gandhi over poll code violations, seeks replies by Oct 30

New Delhi : The Election Commission on Thursday issued notice to Assam Chief Minister and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra over alleged poll code violations. It has asked both the leaders to reply to the notices by Monday, October 30  evening.

The poll panel, in its notice, warned both leaders that “in the event of no response from your side within the stipulated time, it will be presumed that you have nothing to say in the matter and the Election Commission will take appropriate action or decision in the matter without making any further reference to you”.

Referring to the complaint against Sarma by the Congress, the poll panel said: “Whereas, the Commission has received a complaint dated 19 October, 2023 from Congress that you have, in a public meeting at ‘Kawardha’ in Chhattisgarh on 18 October, 2023 made a statement, wherein you have allegedly made communally charged statements and made unverified allegations and distortions against Mohammed Akbar of Congress.

“Whereas, the video of the said speech received along with the complaint was examined and found that you said, “Today, the tribals of Chhattisgarh, who are dear to us, are being encouraged to convert their religion on a daily basis. And when someone raises their voice against it, Bhupesh Baghel ji says ‘we are secular’. Is beating up Hindus your secularism? This country is a country of the Hindus and will belong to Hindus. Do not teach us secularism, we do not need to learn secularism from you.

“In light of the provisions of Model Code of Conduct and the above part of your speech has been found to be prima facie violative of the aforesaid provision of MCC and R P Act, 1951, ” the EC said.

In regard to complaint against Priyanka Gandhi, the poll panel said: “Whereas, the Commission has received a complaint dated 21 October, 2023 from Leader of Opposition, Rajasthan Legislature Assembly and by the BJP vide their representation dated October 25 wherein it has been alleged that in a public meeting of the Congress held at Dausa, Rajasthan on October 20, you in a public speech have made false statements in respect of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“It has been alleged that you have invoked the personal religious devotion of the Prime Minister. Further it is averred that relation between an individual and deity cannot be a matter of public scrutiny and your statement diminishes the devotee in the general estimation of public, ” it said.

The polling for the 90 member Chhattisgarh assembly will take place on November 7 and 17 while polling for 200 member Rajasthan assembly will take place on November 25. Counting of votes will take place on December 3.