South Asian Insider
Congress files affidavit against clean chits to PM Modi
(Agencies)- Congress Member of Parliament Sushmita Dev filed a fresh affidavit before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, alleging discrimination and arbitrariness on the part of the Election Commission (EC), for its clean chits to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah over Opposition complaints that the two violated the model code of conduct (MCC) while campaigning for the ongoing general elections. Dev filed the affidavit after the top court asked her to bring on record the EC orders that exonerated Modi and Shah.On Monday, the EC had cleared Modi in a complaint that pertained to an April 9 rally in Chitradurga, Karnataka, where the PM?had asked first-time voters to "dedicate their vote to the Air Force" for carrying out air strikes on a terrorist camp in Balakot, Pakistan on February 26. This was the seventh complaint in which the poll watchdog exonerated the PM. In a fresh affidavit, Dev cited a complaint filed with the EC on May 6 - the Congress party's most recent one - after Modi reportedly made "unprecedented, obscene and derogatory remarks" in a speech against former Prime Minister of India, the late Rajiv Gandhi. At a rally in Uttar Pradesh last week, Modi had attacked Congress president Rahul Gandhi who has been bringing up alleged corruption by the BJP-led government. "Your father was termed Mr Clean by his courtiers, but his life ended as corrupt no 1," the PM?said referring to Rajiv Gandhi, the former prime minister who was assassinated in 1991. His remarks provoked a fresh bout in the war of words between the BJP and the Opposition. Dev had moved the top court on April 29 after a purported delay by the EC in addressing complaints against Modi and Shah. On May 2, the top court directed the poll panel to decide on all the complaints, which the EC has been doing since then. The new affidavit contended that EC's orders favoured Modi and Shah, as they were "cryptic". This, she said, amounts to a violation of the court's verdicts. She claimed the dissenting note of one of the Election Commissioners had been withheld by the EC in its orders. This amounts to complete lack of transparency and arbitrariness in the decision-making process, Dev alleged. While the EC has acted against other leaders, including Pragya Thakur (BJP's Bhopal candidate) and Maneka Gandhi (BJP's Sultanpur candidate) among others, who made similar statements, it "failed to appreciate that the hate speeches delivered by the PM and Shah are 'corrupt practices' ...which ex-facie promote feelings of enmity," the affidavit stated.
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