Friday, November 8, 2013

After Rahul Gandhi, Narendra Modi\'s \'khooni panja\' comes under Election Commission radar

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission of India has sought the video footage of Narendra Modi\'s rally at Chhattisgarh to determine whether the BJP\'s prime ministerial candidate indeed described rival Congress\' election symbol as \"khooni panja\" (murderous paw).

\"The Commission will look into the matter,\" an official told ET on Friday, confirming that the electoral watchdog had taken suo motu cognizance of media reports on Modi\'s speech delivered at the rally the previous day. Congress party has, however, not lodged a protest on the issue with the commission, added the official, who did not wish to be named.

The model code of conduct, which is enforced from the date of announcement of elections till the last date of polling, prohibits political parties and candidates from directly attacking their competitors.

Days after the BJP protested to the commission against Congress veep Rahul Gandhi\'s remarks at a rally in Indore, Modi on Thursday lashed out at the Congress party in his speech at Chhattisgarh\'s Dongargaon. According to The Indian Express newspaper, Modi said at the rally, \"Yadi aap chahte hain ki Chhattisgarh ke upar kisi khooni panje ka saya na pade to aap sabhi kamal mein button dabana aur Chhattisgarh ko khooni panje se bachana (If you want to save Chhattisgarh from the murderous hand, then press the button alongside the lotus).\"

I&B Minister Manish Tewari had told ET, \"Whether Modi\'s remark should be dignified with an action or complaint is for the Congress party to decide. Be that as it may, I think EC should take suo motu cognizance of the violation. If you refer to another party\'s symbol as a murderous paw, then it\'s definitely a violation of the model code of conduct.

But I leave this to the wisdom of the EC.\" BJP spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, however, defended Modi. \"It\'s not a violation (of the model code) to highlight the failures of the party that is in power,\" he said.

In its complaint to the commission on October 28, the BJP had protested against Gandhi\'s claim that Pakistan\'s Inter-Services Intelligence had been in touch with some Muslim youth who had lost their family members in the recent communal clashes in Uttar Pradesh\'s Muzaffarnagar.

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