Congress moves EC against 'Modi Parivaar' and 'Modi ki Guarantee' advertisements

Congress leaders Salman Khurshid, Mukul Wasnik, Supriya Shrinate and others come out after meeting the Election Commissioners at Nirvachan Sadan, in New Delhi, Thursday, March 21, 2024.
Congress leaders Salman Khurshid, Mukul Wasnik, Supriya Shrinate and others come out after meeting the Election Commissioners at Nirvachan Sadan, in New Delhi, Thursday, March 21, 2024.

New Delhi | Alleging misuse of state resources for the poll campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress on Thursday complained to the Election Commission against "Modi Parivaar" and "Modi ki Guarantee" advertisements and sought their immediate removal and action against those behind it.

A delegation of Congress leaders comprising Mukul Wasnik, Salman Khurshid, Supriya Shrinate and Gurdeep Sappal met the Election Commission and handed over a set of complaints about alleged violations of the model code of conduct by the BJP and demanded immediate action.

The Congress delegation lodged a complaint against the BJP's "false advertisements" invoking the 2G allocation issue and alleged that the party was pursuing a decade-old narrative that had been thoroughly discredited through a comprehensive judicial process.

The party prayed for removal of the advertisement and action against its authors and publishers.

In another complaint, the Congress sought removal of 'Modi Parivaar' advertisement, alleging that it highlights how state resources are being misused for a veiled campaign advertisement.

"We have raised objections over advertisements on trains, petrol pumps, bus stands, etc. with PM Modi's picture as part of their (BJP's) election campaigning. They (Election Commission) have already started taking action against many other such issues," Congress leader Salman Khurshid said after the meeting with the poll panel.

"The brazen use of the armed forces violates multiple directives of the ECI. The fact that the Ministry of I&B is being compelled to produce and broadcast the same also needs to be addressed. We seek the removal of the advertisement and action against the guilty parties," the Congress memorandum read.

"We also request that the Commission may issue an advisory to all political parties reiterating that the armed forces cannot be used to further political interests of political parties in any manner whatsoever; the social media handles of the government and its ministries cannot be used for posting or promoting the election campaign of Narendra Modi or any member of the BJP," the party also said.

In a separate complaint, the Congress demanded a probe into an unsolicited letter being circulated on social media purportedly from the prime minister himself and asked how the official letterhead of the PMO can be used for what is an obvious campaigning material.

"We demand an inquiry into the group circulating the same and the takedown of the material along with appropriate action," the memorandum said.

The party has also urged the Election Commission to utilise its powers under Article 324 of the Constitution and issue directions to prevent the circulation of any poll campaign material through the Prime Minister's Office under 'Viksit Bharat Sampark', as it amounts to misuse of state machinery for the purposes of political campaign.

It also urged the EC to initiate an urgent and immediate investigation into how letters of the Prime Minister's Office is being circulated to voters across the country.

The Congress also complained against the BJP's advertisements on the Delhi Metro with the tagline "Modi ki Guarantee" and sought their removal.

It also sought removal of all ads carrying images of the prime minister from government bodies, offices, petrol pumps for the duration of the elections as the same violates multiple safeguards reiterated in election law.

The Congress has urged the poll panel to issue directions for immediate removal of all such government hoardings, advertisements, etc. displaying the image of the prime minister, Union ministers or any individual with any political allegiance.

"Consequently, the relevant authority removing the said advertisements, posters or hoardings should also furnish a compliance report to the Commission," the Congress said.

"We further request the Commission to direct that no government advertisement, promotion material with the images of the Prime Minister, Union Ministers or other individuals with political allegiance should be allowed to be issued in the newspapers and other media including electronic media at the cost of public exchequer," the party said.

Another complaint by the Congress highlighted the "vile and obscene" posts targeting a senior Congress leader, being run from the official social media handle of the BJP. "Strict action is sought against the authors and the publishers for multiple violations of the Indian Penal Code 1860 and the Representation of the People Act, 1951," the party said.

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