A delegation of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lodged three major complaints with the Election Commission (EC) on Friday. Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that they had met EC officials over Congress president Rahul Gandhi's comments regarding the Rafale issue.
In the context of the first phase of the Lok Sabha election held on Thursday, the ministers also alleged that Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers had engaged in "rigging and booth capture" during the voting process in West Bengal.
"We have lodged three clear complaints with the EC, the first of which is the way Congress president Rahul Gandhi has used defamatory language against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP government. He has been spreading lies repeatedly by calling the prime minister a 'chor' in connection with the Rafale deal issue, despite the Supreme Court's order in the matter," Sitharaman said.
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The ministers said that the party had taken "objection" to Rahul "misquoting" the Supreme Court's order on Wednesday, when the bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi rejected the preliminary objections the government raised to petitions seeking a review of the 14 December judgment in the Rafale case. The ministers claimed that Rahul, in response to the apex court's judgment, said, "Supreme Court has said, chowkidar chor hai".
Naqvi added on Friday that the Congress follows the motos of "fake, fabricated, and fraud" of "jhut meva jayate" He also called Rahul the "chief of the gaali gang".
On Wednesday too, Sitharaman had criticised Rahul's response and accused the Congress president of committing contempt of court by passing "false" statements about the Supreme Court verdict. Sitharaman hit out at Rahul for saying that the Supreme Court accepted that "chowkidar chor hai" through his Twitter account and in his comment on the development in the media.
She further said that the Congress leader said at a public rally that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was proven guilty of corruption in the Rafale deal and giving Rs 30,000 crore to Anil Ambani, who is the chairman of the offset partner in the deal Reliance Defence.
"We all know (the) Congress president probably doesn't even read even half a paragraph. By saying that the court has said 'Chowkidar chor hai,' these (statements) verge on contempt of court," Sitharaman said, adding that Rahul is showing signs of frustration.
"The person who itself on bail, violating every norm of political decency alleging things which the court has never said. He has lost all sense of decency by causing contempt of court," Sitharaman had said.
On Friday, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi moved the Supreme Court seeking contempt action against Rahul for attributing his remarks on the recent Rafale verdict to the apex court.
Naqvi also targeted the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC on Friday and said, "Instances of rigging, poll capture, and gundagardi were done by TMC's gundas. We have demanded before the EC that at least two security personnel be posted at every booth, and in some booths where women were not allowed to vote, there should be re-polling in those constituencies."