As Bihar nears its last phase of assembly polls, the leaders from both the sides of political divide continue to be under the poll panel’s lens. Late on Sunday, the Election Commission of India issued showcause notices to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and BJP president Amit Shah. Last week, the EC had received complaints with both the sides alleging each other of poll code violation.
Rahul Gandhi was issued notice for his remarks that BJP makes Hindus and Muslims fight each other, while the poll panel issued notice to RJD chief Lalu Prasad for his reported remarks against BJP chief Amit Shah.
“What is their plan B…make Indian fight another Indian. Wherever they go — UP, Maharashtra, Haryana — wherever there is an election, their army goes and they make Hindus fight the Muslims,” Rahul Gandhi had said during an election rally on October 29 in Benipatti, Madhubani district.
Holding that both Mr. Gandhi and Mr. Prasad have prima facie violated model code, EC has sought their replies by 3 PM of November 4, failing at which the poll panel will “take action without further reference”.
The Election Commission has also “cautioned” JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav for his reported remarks to influence voters in the name of divine displeasure and said he should follow the provisions of the model code as he is a senior politician. In its order, the EC also rejected Mr. Yadav’s contention that the statement was made as an “emotive appeal” using a “hyperbole and metaphor”.
Few hours after the notice to two leaders, the Election Commission issued a showcause notice to BJP President Amit Shah for his remarks that if his party loses Bihar elections, crackers will go off in Pakistan.
“The Commission is, prima facie, of the opinion that by making the… statement which has the potential of disturbing harmony and aggravating the existing differences between social and religious communities, you have violated … provision of the Model Code of Conduct,” the notice read.
Besides, the poll panel also reminded Mr. Shah that a provision of the model code provides that no party or candidate shall indulge in any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities or religious and linguistic communities.
During his rally at Raxual on Indo-Nepal border in East Champaran district last week, Amit Shah had said, “Friends, remembers if by mistake BJP loses here and Nitish-Lalu win, the results will be announced in Patna but firecrackers will go off in Pakistan.”
The same text was quoted in the EC notice. The Commission has also given Shah time till 3.00 pm of November 4 to explain his stand.
(With inputs from the PTI)