05, Apr 2019 | CJP Team
The All India People’s Forum (AIPF) has submitted a memorandum to the Chief Election Commissioner regarding “violations of the Election Code by political parties by illegal and manipulative use of religion in the election campaign, and defaming India’s defence forces”.
In its memorandum, which is also addressed to members of the Election Commission of India (ECI), the AIPF notes that it is “closely monitoring the progress” of the 2019 general elections, and it congratulates the Election Commission “for its management of the largest exercise in the world by the people electing a national government through universal adult franchise in a peaceful process.”
However, the memorandum also expresses disquiet “at the abuse and violation of the Election Code by a Constitutional Authority, the Governor of a State of the Union, and by the Prime Minister of the country as also the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, among others, right in the beginning of a long-drawn campaign calendar.” The memorandum highlights the Supreme Court ruling from January 2, 2017, in which a seven-judge Constitution Bench ruled, “Seeking votes in the name of religion, caste or community amounted to corrupt practice and election of a candidate who indulged in it can be set aside.”
The memorandum highlights several instances of possible violations. It states that Prime Minister Narendra Mod’s campaign “deserves the Election Commission’s close monitoring and scrutiny,” adding, “We are deeply disturbed at his direct rousing of the Hindu population of the country, the majority population, and his barned [sic] references to minority communities.” It outlines how Modi “has systematically brought in the Indian Defence Forces into his campaign rhetoric,” noting that photographs of the forces, martyrs, as well as those of Commander Abhinandan who was captured by Pakistan and later released were used in Modi’s campaign materials. Modi “has painted the Opposition leaders and the civil society as anti-national, anti-patriotic, and surrogates of Pakistan,” the memorandum declares.
It also draws attention to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, a major campaigner for the ruling BJP, saying that he has “reduced the brave Indian Army with a distinguished history and a proud heritage, to a feudal force commanded by Mr. Modi”. On Monday, April 1, when speaking at a rally in Ghaziabad, Adityanath said, “Congress ke log aatankvadiyon ko biryani khilate the aur Modi ji ki sena aatankvadiyon ko goli aur gola deti hai (Congress fed terrorists biryani while Modi’s army feeds them bullets and bombs).”
The memorandum also requests the Election Commission “to examine the abuse and circumventing of existing rules and regulations governing satellite television channels, and the mushrooming of channels such as NaMo TV which are coming into our households even though we have not subscribed to such channels,” saying this “aggravates the existing situation created by news channels”.
The complete memorandum may be read here:
Featured image: Inc42 via DNA.