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Inquiry ordered as Cong accuses PM of violation of poll code

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: April 23, 2019  | 22:53 IST

(Eds: Updating with inquiry ordered) /R New Delhi, Apr 23 (PTI) An inquiry was ordered Tuesday after the Congress alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi violated the model code of conduct by holding a "road show" and making political remarks after casting his vote. Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer S Murali Krishna told PTI that the Ahmedabad district election officer has been asked to conduct an inquiry. Modi travelled in an open jeep to a polling centre in the Ranip area of Ahmedabad Tuesday morning to cast his vote. People lined up on both sides of the road as the jeep passed. After casting the vote, Modi walked some distance away from the polling centre and spoke to the media. Later in the day, the Congress moved the Election Commission (EC), alleging that Modi took out a "road show" after casting his vote and made political remarks in violation of the model code of conduct, and demanded that a campaign ban of 2-3 days be imposed on him for being an "uncaring offender". The opposition party also made a representation to the EC over alleged model code of conduct violation by BJP chief Amit Shah and demanded a 72-hour campaign ban on him. The Congress delegation comprising Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Jairam Ramesh and K Raju told the EC that Shah "openly raised Balakot air strikes, Pulwama attack and armed forces" while seeking votes in Krishnanagar, West Bengal. The party strongly raised the issue of alleged violation of the model code of conduct by the Prime Minister. "Prime Minister is occupying a high post. The bigger the post, the bigger the responsibility. We have told the Election Commission that instead of caring about the responsibility, the Prime Minister is repeatedly violating the model code of conduct," Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi told reporters outside the EC. He said the Congress had written to the EC last night complaining about the "violation of the model code of conduct" by Modi after casting his vote in the past. "Our prediction came true as in today's polling after casting his vote, the Prime Minister took out a long road show, gave speeches and political statements soon after voting," Singhvi said. There has never been such clear and transparent violation of the model code of conduct, he alleged. "We told the EC that he is a habitual, egregious, and completely uncaring offender. He doesn't care for the EC," the Congress leader said. "It is very distressing and sad. There is no point taking 5-10 days before responding. We said action should be taken against the PM within hours and a campaign ban be imposed on him for 48 or 72 hours," he said. The Congress memorandum to the EC alleged that the Prime Minister had made detailed plans to undertake, in defiance of electoral laws, a road show before and after he voted. "We urged the Commission to take preventive steps as the Prime Minister has a history of violating the law by taking out elaborate road shows in the general elections 2014 and Gujarat Assembly Elections in 2017," the memorandum said. "If the EC doesn't enforce what it commands uniformly and without fear or favour then the sanctity of this Commission stands compromised. Such brazen violations call for immediate exercise of this Commission's wide powers against the offenders," it said. Singhvi said the EC has not taken action on earlier complaints against the Prime Minister, while action has been taken against UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. "So, there cannot be double standards as laws are the same for everybody," he said. The Congress' memorandum against Shah called for urgent and necessary directions against the BJP chief for what it termed as "continuous and repeated" violation of the model code of conduct. PTI ASK RT PJT PD BNM KRK AQS AQS

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