EC issues notice to BJP on newspaper advertisement

RSTV Bureau

Bihar-polls-coloursThe Election Commission of India has taken a strong exception to BJP’s advertisement raising the controversial issue of beef in some vernacular dailies in Bihar on Wednesday. The central poll panel has also issued notice to the party seeking explanation. BJP-led four-party NDA is a main challenger to the incumbent Nitish Kumar-led ‘Grand Alliance’ in the ongoing Bihar polls.

Bihar votes for the fifth and last phase on Thursday. The results of this long and keenly contested poll will be announced on November 8.

“Our attention has been drawn to the said advertisements published by BJP in Muzaffarpur and Bhagalpur editions of some newspapers… These advertisements are against the EC’s instruction to political parties and newspapers,” Additional Chief Electoral Officer R Laxmanan told the press in Patna.

The EC has also served Bihar BJP chief Mangal Pandey a notice seeking an explanation over the said advertisement.

The controversial advertisement alleges Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of maintaining a “silence” on the issue of beef apart from questioning him over the alleged remarks made by some of the leaders of ‘Grand Alliance’ on the issue.

Besides the notice to the BJP, the central poll panel strictly ordered that no political party or any candidate or any other organization or person shall publish any advertisement in the newspapers on Thursday unless its contents are pre-certified.

Additional Chief Electoral Officer R Laxmanan explained that the step taken by the EC in exercise of its powers under Article 324 of Constitution was necessitated to ensure that no such instance is repeated on the day of poll and no untoward incident takes place because of any inflammatory or hate advertisements. Similar direction have also been issued to all newspapers in Bihar, Mr. Laxmanan added.

Earlier on Wednesday, a ‘Grand Alliance’ delegation comprising JD(U) general secretary K C Tyagi and Congress spokespersons RPN Singh and Ajoy Kumar had met the EC in New Delhi, alleging that the advertisement amounted to “seeking votes in the name of religion” in the fifth and last phase of polling on Thursday in 57 seats.

(With inputs from the PTI)