New Delhi: The Congress on Saturday wrote to the Election Commission seeking action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his ”Congress shields terrorism for vote bank” remark and said he has crossed the ”lakshman rekha”.
Taking strong objections to Modi’s charge at a rally in Ballary on Friday, the opposition party accused him of making ”malicious and false” allegations to vitiate the atmosphere poll-bound Karnataka.
Voting for the 224 assembly seats in the state will take place on May 10 and results will be out on May 13.
Mounting a fresh attack on the Congress, Prime Minister Modi on Friday had alleged that for the sake of vote bank politics, it has nurtured, given shelter and surrendered before terror.
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The Congress wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners also against top BJP leaders, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, for ”polarising the atmosphere in Karnataka”.
”While we have objections to the entire tone and tenor of the prime minister’s speech, in this representation we wish to highlight the completely unprecedented and malicious allegations, far worse than any ever made by a sitting prime minister in the history of India,” Congress general secretaries Randeep Surjewala and K C Venugopal said in a memorandum sent to the Election Commission (EC).
”He has not only crossed the ‘lakshman rekha’ but brazenly tarnished every norm and decorum set by his predecessors. This cannot go unchecked, unanswered and unpunished,” the memorandum said.
They also claimed ”blatant” violations of electoral laws as well as the Indian Penal Code and said ”these alarming and brazen violations committed by the prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi (on May 5th, 2023), call for the immediate exercise of this commission’s powers under Article 324 of the Constitution”.
The Congress also gave copies of Modi’s speech in Ballary and claimed he had said, ”…Congress has shielded terrorism for the vote bank…”.
”…look at the unfortunate situation in the country where the Congress is seen standing with this trend of terrorism that destroys societies. Not just this the Congress is also taking part in backdoor political negotiations with those who are linked to this trend of terrorism,” according to the speech copies submitted by the party to the EC.
The prime minister tried to mislead voters by making these ”false and unverified allegations” and also accused the party that led India’s struggle for freedom and is the principal Opposition Party in Parliament of supporting terrorists and terrorism, the Congress leaders said in the memorandum.
Surjewala said Modi has ”made a desperate attempt to falsely tarnish the sacrifices and legacy of an almost hundred-and-forty-year-old party with an unmatched record of public service and sacrifice, all for the sake of petty political gains in the ensuing Karnataka assembly elections”.
”There is no nuance here and the PM while making these claims, is clearly aware of what he is trying to achieve to malign, defame and perpetuate falsehoods against the Congress,” he said.
In their memorandum to EC, Surejwala and Venugopal alleged that over the last week, Modi and his party (BJP) colleagues have made every attempt to ”polarise” the election and committed multiple electoral offences under the Indian Penal Code as well as other laws.
Citing that they have already submitted ”evidence” against Shah, BJP National President JP Nadda and Adityanath, they claimed that despite repeated representations and two delegation visits, to ask the EC to act, absolutely no action has been taken against these offending individuals and the BJP.
”Obviously it leaves an unmistakable impression that this Hon’ble commission is either unwilling or helpless in acting against those occupying the citadels of power…,” the memorandum said.
”If this commission fails to rise to the challenge of upholding the law in the face of these defiant, deliberate and brazen violations being committed by the PM and his colleagues, the EC risks tarnishing its legacy and abandoning its Constitutional duty by setting a precedent of helpless inaction that will go down in infamy,” it said.
The prime minister is trying to reset the narrative by making these ”absolutely false insinuations and imputations aimed at tarnishing the image of the Indian National Congress before the voters”, the memorandum said and added that this is the last, desperate attempt to save the BJP’s sinking ship in Karnataka.
”In light of the gravity of the offences, we call upon the commission to exercise its powers under article 324 of the Constitution and treat this matter with the urgent attention it deserves and initiate action against Narendra Modi,” the Congress told the EC in its memorandum.