Complaints mount against PM Modi: Accused of inciting religious divisions at Banswara rally Complaints against the speech was filed by CJP, ADR’s Jagdeep S. Chhokar and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation

22, Apr 2024 | CJP Team

As the heated election campaign to Lok Sabha 2024 election begins, with the polling for the first phase of General Election already over, the issue of free and fair elections has been constantly flagged. While the use religion and promoting enmity on the grounds of religion to seek votes is a prohibited offence under Sections 123, 123(3A), and 125 of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 (RPA) and the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), this has not stopped parties and politicians from weaponing religion and targeting minorities in blatant disregard to established norms and rules. Though the MCC does not have a statutory backing, making it legally non-binding, it nonetheless serves as a moral code for parties during the elections. As for the RPA, it has a legal backing, and violation of Section 125 carries punishment of 3 years of imprisonment or fine, or both.

The latest low in the election campaign comes from none other than the Prime Minister of the country and BJP leader Narendra Modi, when he attacked the opposition Congress Party and its manifesto, alleging that the said party is working to collect and distribute country’s wealth to Muslims, giving the latter the first right over country’s wealth. The given election speech is in clear violation of Model Code of Conduct and the provisions of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951, as it uses religion to influence voters’ choices to adversely affect the opposition party, while benefitting from the same.

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The excerpt from the speech delivered by Modi in Banswara, Rajasthan, on April 21, reads, “Tum use chhinane ki baat kar rahe ho apne manifesto mein. Gold le lenge, aur sabko vitrit kar denge. Aur pehele jab unki sarkar thi to unhone kaha tha, ki desh ki sampatti par pehela adhikar Musalmano ka hai. Iska matlab, ye sampatti ikhatti karke kisko batenge…..jinke jyada bacche hai unko batenge…Ghuspaithiyo ko batenge. Kya apki mehenat ki kamayi ka paisa ghuspaithiyo ko diya jayega….Apko manzur hai ye… Ye congress ka manifesto ke raha hai ki wo matao aur beheno ka sone ka hisab karenge, uski jadti karenge, jankari lenge aur phir uss sampatti ko baat denge. Aur unko batenge…jinko Manmohan Singhji ki sarkar ne kaha tha ki sampatti par pehela adhikar musalmano ka hai. Bhaiyo beheno.. ye urban naxal ki soch.. mere matao aur beheno ye apka mangal sutra bhi bachne nahi denge”

English translation reads, “You [Congress] are referring to grabbing of that [gold and property] in your manifesto…They will take the gold and distribute it to all. When their [Congress] government was there, they had said that Muslims have the first right over country’s property. Whom they [Congress] will distribute to after accumulating the property? They will give to people who have more children … will your hard earned money be given to infiltrators… Do you accept it? This is what congress manifesto says that gold of mothers and sisters will be accounted, searched and inquired and then it will be distributed.. to Muslims, whom Manmohan Singh ji had said has the first right over property. Brothers and sisters, this is urban naxal mentality… my mothers and sisters, they [Congress] will not even leave your mangalsutra.”

Complaints against the speech

At least three complaints have been filed against Modi for his aforementioned speech with the Election Commission of India, urging the latter to take strict against the speaker, to ensure free and fair elections and stop hate-mongering against members of Muslim community.

Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) gave a detailed complaint today to Election Commission of India (ECI) against PM Modi’s Banswara speech, tagging the Chief Election Commissioner, Rajeev Kumar, and Election Commissioners’ Gyanesh Kumar, and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu. CJP emphasized in its complaint that the said speech is “nothing short of targeted and communal slurs against the Muslim community” and results in a polarized voting environment. It relied on relevant provisions of the law including Model Code of Conduct, Sections 123 and 125 of the Representation of Peoples Act, and Sections 153A (hate speech), 153B (speech affecting national integration), 298 (outraging religious sentiment), 499 (defamation), 505 (statements conducing to public mischief), 505 (2) (statements promoting hatred between classes) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Urging the ECI to use its power under Article 324 of the Indian Constitution to ensure free and fair election, the complaint remarks that “The legal basis and tenet of free and fair must also include an election that is not marred by the imbalance and bias caused by religion-driven prejudice that tilts the scale ominously against the marginalised minorities.” 

It also cited judicial precedents established in the cases of Mohinder Singh Gill v. Chief Election Commissioner, Abhiram Singh v. C.D. Commachen, and Ziyauddin Burhanuddin Bukhari vs Brijmohan Ramdass Mehra, to strengthen the legal basis of the complaint, as the given cases relate to the delimitation of the powers of ECI to ensure free and fair election, judicial interpretation on the applicability of the provisions of “corrupt practices”, and bar on invocation to religious appeal in the elections, respectively. 

Additionally, CJP’s complaint also provides the correct context of Dr. Manmohan Singh’s targeted speech, which was twisted and taken out of context by the Prime Minister Modi, to show that the Dr. Singh’s speech was rather aimed at promoting affirmative action for members of vulnerable sections of the society, including SC/ST and Muslim citizens.

The complaint may be viewed here:


In a complaint filed by the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation on April 21, it requested the ECI to take “strict action” against PM Modi to ensure the any “any possibility of free and fair elections.” It notes that the speech delivered by the Prime Minister in Banswara attracts the provision under Section 123(3A) of RPA (promotion of feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes on grounds of religion, etc.) and violates Model Code of Conduct. The complaint further observes that it is a “disgraceful speech which is highly venomous, communal and hate-mongering in nature, aimed at promoting enmity between the citizens of India on grounds of religion, and seeks to vitiate the poll atmosphere and spread hatred against the Muslim community”.

CPI(ML) also flagged previous instances where Modi was found invoking religion, noting that, “this communal speech…follows up on his various speeches (speech on 6th April at Ajmer, Rajasthan, 7th April at Nawada, Bihar, speech on 9th April at Pilibhit, Uttar Pradesh) where he has repeatedly made references to the Ram temple at Ayodhya and the Hindu community. We understand that there are several complaints pending with the ECI in regard to these speeches.”   

The complaint may be viewed here:


In another complaint filed by Jagdeep S. Chhokar, the complaint asks the Election Commission to take action against speaker for violation of Model Code of Conduct, Sections 123(3) and (3A), 125 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code. Chhokar’s complaint encourage ECI to take prompt action in the case, recording that, “Given the election is already underway, it is absolutely necessary that the action be taken without any loss of time”. He pointed out that “Anyone watching the entire video will, in my opinion, will not be left in any doubt whatsoever that it is an election campaign video. Shri Modi is a star campaigner for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and actually names candidates contesting on behalf of the BJP.”

The complaint may be viewed here:


All the three complaints have provided a detailed transcription of the speech, with proper time stamp and links to the video, with CJP and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation even providing English translation of the speech for better comprehension of Election Commission.

Furthermore, citizens collective of over 2200 citizens have also sent their complaint to Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners through the digital channel, remarking that the said speech “…seriously undermines India’s stature as the ‘Mother of Democracy’ in the world. Further, approval of such hateful language that may alienate certain communities is at odds with egalitarian values enshrined in the Constitution of India and will only bring disrepute to India’s position as a “Vishwa Guru” or World Leader in the comity of nations.” It also cautioned the ECI, remarking that “The ECI’s failure to take any action against such hate speech will only undermine its credibility and autonomy that has been safeguarded and upheld by a series of exemplary officers before you.”

The complaint may be viewed here:


It remains to be seen now, what action, if any, Election Commission will take against the Prime Minister, given that Election Commission has often been accused of unduly favouring the ruling dispensation. Currently, the given speech is still available online, without any restriction.

Link to PM Modi’s Banswara speech attached below:



[1] Section 123 (3) of RPA: “The appeal by a candidate or his agent or by any other person with the consent of a candidate or his election agent to vote or refrain from voting for any person on the ground of his religion, race, caste, community or language or the use of, or appeal to religious symbols or the use of, or appeal to, national symbols, such as the national flag or the national emblem, for the furtherance of the prospects of the election of that candidate or for prejudicially affecting the election of any candidate…”

[2] Section 123 (3A) of RPA: “The promotion of, or attempt to promote, feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of the citizens of India on grounds of religion, race, caste, community, or language, by a candidate or his agent or any other person with the consent of a candidate or his election agent for the furtherance of the prospects of the election of that candidate or for prejudicially affecting the election of any candidate.”

[3] Section 125 of RPA: “Any person who in connection with an election under this Act promotes or attempts to promote on grounds of religion, race, caste, community or language, feelings of enmity or hatred, between different classes of the citizens of India shall he punishable, with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.”

[4] Section 153(A) of Indian Penal Code: Sub-section 1(a) of the said Section reads “Whoever– (a) by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise, promotes or attempts to promote, on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill will between different religious, racials, language or regional groups or castes or communities…” shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.


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