Gujarat Police Crime Branch to probe matter as CM flashes party’s symbol after casting his vote
The Gujarat Police filed two FIRs against BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on the orders of the Election Commission on Wednesday for his political statements and displaying the BJP’s election symbol lotus soon after exercising his franchise.
DGP of Gujarat PC Thakur confirmed the development and said that a police complaint had also been lodged against TV channels. The State administration has sent a compliance report pertaining to the FIRs to the Election Commission (EC). The Ahmedabad Crime Branch will investigate the matter.
The EC had held Modi guilty of violating provisions of Representation of the People Act, 1951 and asked the Gujarat administration to furnish a compliance report.
The EC is of the view that by holding the Press briefing when polling was going on in Gujarat and other parts of the country, Modi violated provisions of Sections 126 (1)(a) and 126 (l)(b) of RP Act.
The EC has also directed that all the TV channels and other electronic media which carried the proceedings of the said briefing and display of election material on their channels should be proceeded against.
EC’s action came after Congress lodged a formal complaint with the commission and asked for action against Modi. Modi has “shred into pieces” the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), Congress general secretary Ajay Maken said.
He said displaying the BJP’s election symbol and making a speech after casting his vote in Gandhinagar was a “big violation” of electoral laws.
Minutes after Modi’s Press meet went live, AICC legal department secretary KC Mittal promptly filed a complaint to the poll panel, saying Modi’s speech and display of election symbol was in violation of Section 126 of RP Act (RPA) and demanded an FIR be registered against him.
Another Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmed said that Modi is a “habitual and serial violator” of the MCC. He said that a wrong impression will go around if the commission failed to take action against the BJP’s PM candidate.
Demanding swift action by 6 pm on the same day, the party in its complaint said: “It has been noticed from live news telecasts on various channels that Modi went to the polling station at Gandhinagar to vote. On his way out he was campaigning for himself and the BJP, delivering a speech and also showing the BJP’s election symbol to the public while displaying his inked finger.”
However, the BJP defended Modi and said it would give a detailed response to the EC on the alleged violation of MCC by Modi.
Party’s spokesperson Meenakshi lekhi said the BJP has great respect for the commission and it would respond after receiving the notice.
She, however, maintained that there was no violation of MCC as it was not a polling station where Modi allegedly showed the party’s symbol.
Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley questioned the EC’s directive to file a criminal case against the media, besides Modi, for violation of MCC. “They have asked (Gujarat authorities) to file an FIR against the media for asking questions. Well, if that is the situation, then I think (its) legality is in seriousness (sic),” Jaitley said, after casting his vote at a polling booth off Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway. Jaitley, who is contesting lok Sabha elections from Amritsar, is a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat.
The whole drama began in the morning when the Gujarat Chief Minister reached the Nishan School polling booth, situated in Ranip area of Ahmedabad. A large crowd and media persons were waiting for Modi outside the polling station. Modi entered the school building while acknowledging the crowd cheering for him by raising his hands. After exercising his franchise Modi came out of the booth and took his own photograph with a lotus in his hand and his inked finger pointing towards it.
later on he briefed media persons. Holding the lotus in his hands, Modi said he had understood the trend and psyche of the people, that gives two important messages, first, the mother-son Government is going and a strong foundation has been laid for the BJP-led Government.
He claimed that he was the only person to have campaigned throughout the country and that is why he could give a first-hand account. Modi also claimed that the saffron party would get more seats than have been won by any party in the last 25 years.
“The high percentage of voting in this searing heat shows that the elections are for a new hope, new trust. The elections will give strength to the country and an opportunity to change the country’s fate,” said Modi.
Coming down heavily on the Congress leadership, he said the Congress has accepted defeat and already started talking about support to a Third Front Government in order to keep the BJP out of power. Top Congress leaders including the Prime Minister, Finance Minster and other senior Ministers are not contesting, he said, adding that they were running away from elections.