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EC issues notice to BJP, Congress over violation of MCC; seeks reply by April 29

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 The Election Commission on Thursday issued notices to the Presidents of BJP and Congress — JP Nadda and Mallikarjun Kharge — for the alleged violation of Model Code of Conduct by their “Star campaigners” during the campaigning of 2024 Lok Sabha election.

In its notice to BJP President J P Nadda, the poll panel has sought a response by Monday to complaints filed by the Congress, CPI and CPI (ML), regarding the remarks made by PM Modi on April 21 in Rajasthan’s Banswara.

Modi during the election rally, had hit out at the Congress, saying that if voted to power, the party could distribute the nation’s wealth among “infiltrators” and “those who have more children”.

The poll panel also issued a separate notice to Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, asking him to respond to the complaints filed by the BJP against the main opposition party’s senior leader Rahul Gandhi regarding their remarks.

The notice also asked Nadda to bring to the notice of all star campaigners of the party to “set high standards of political discourse and observe provisions of model code of conduct in letter and spirit”.

The Election Commission in its letter to Kharge, said the Star Campaigners were expected to utilize the privilege for “propagating the programme of the political parties and, therefore their speeches in the campaign space necessarily need to be judged at a higher threshold of compliance.

The EC said that the national party was therefore expected to be the standard bearer in political and campaign discourse and as such should also set high standards of compliance with the model code of conduct.

“Whereas, the Commission is in receipt of representation from a political party alleging violation of the Model Code of Conduct by speeches made during campaigning by some of your star campaigners. Whereas, these speeches are selected to be in violation of MCC,” the EC said.

“In view of the foregoing and the plenary power of the political parties to nominate or withdraw the star campaigner’s status with associated responsibility and authority to control their star campaigners, the Commission has taken a view that while the individual star campaigner would continue to remain responsible for speeches made, the Commission will address party President/Head of the political party, on a case-to-case basis,” the EC said in the notice.

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