Will PM Modi meet fate of Adityanath and Mayawati?

Hardeep Singh Bedi

New Delhi, April 17: The Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M) has urged the Election Commission of India (ECI) to take action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi over Model Code of Conduct (MCC) violation.

In a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, CPI-M leader Nilotpal Basu said Prime Minister Modi vitiated the atmosphere in his two rallies in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on April 13 by importing polarising issues.

"While addressing the Theni rally in Tamil Nadu, Prime Minister Modi asserted that the Communists and the Muslim League were playing a dangerous game on Sabarimala and initiating 'to strike at the root of faith'. He (PM Modi) asserted that as long as there is BJP none can destroy our faith," said Basu.

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The CPI-M leader added that this is a clear example as to how Narendra Modi is not only violating MCC but also implicitly challenging the order of the Election Commission to refrain from using Sabarimala temple and Lord Ayyappa in the election campaign.

There have been protests by Hindu groups since a September 28 Supreme Court verdict that allowed women of all ages to enter the temple, including those from the hitherto banned group of 10 to 50 years. The matter is sub-judice.

"Bringing in the question of faith and accusing the LDF government in Kerala, the Prime Minister was trying to appeal to the people belonging to the 'faith' and which is clearly against MCC, as well as, your (Election Commission) specific order, " said Basu, adding that the LDF government has, time and again, reiterated that it does not stand against faith; but was confining itself to implementing the Supreme Court order.

The Chief Electoral Officer in Kerala has told political parties that under no circumstances should votes be solicited in the name of the Sabarimala temple as it has a religious connotation.

The CPI-M leader said the Election Commission of India itself is an independent Constitutional authority and the Supreme Court order was in the spirit of the Constitutional order, charging the communists and the LDF government for implementing the apex court order amounts to, not just vitiating the atmosphere but undermining the Constitutional order which defines the limits of the election campaign.

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It is notable that the EC on Monday banned Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from campaigning for 72 hours and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati for 48 hours for giving provocative speeches to aggravate differences between Hindus and Muslims.

Now, it will be interesting to see whether the EC finds the issue raised by the CPI-M tantamount to same treatment like Adityanath and Mayawati or not.

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