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Refrain from Divisive Campaigns, EC Asks BJP, Congress Chiefs

Too little too late, says senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai on the poll panel not naming any individual

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Wednesday asked the president of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) J.P. Nadda to stop his party’s star campaigners from making speeches and statements which may divide the society.

An almost similar notification was sent to the Congress president Malikarjun Kharge.

The poll panel also asked Nadda to stop his party leaders from adopting any campaigning methods and make speeches along communal lines.

In an official notification issued by senior principal secretary Narendra Butolian, the ECI issued ten warnings to the ruling party on the various complaints filed against the BJP.

“Directs you as party president to also convey to all star campaigners to not make speeches and statements which may divide the society, directs BJP and its star campaigners to refrain from any campaigning methods and utterances along religious communal lines,” reads the notification.

It also directed the party to align its campaign methods to the practical aspects of the composite and sensitive fabric of India.

The utterances of the concerned star campaigners follow patterns and create narratives which can be damaging beyond the Moral Code of Conduct (MCC) period. Technical loopholes or extreme interpretation of other political party utterance cannot discharge star campaigners from the core responsibility of their own content which ought to be corrective to the ongoing discourse and not further plummeting the quality of campaign discourse,” reads the notification.

The ECI notification to the Congress president asked him not to promote caste division and give a false impression that the constitution would be abolished.

Senior journalist Rajeep Sardesai criticised the notifications saying that the commission was trying to appear “neutral” by sending notifications to both sides and shying away from not naming leaders accused of violating the MCC.

“EC has not named any individuals, did not send notices to the individuals who are accused of making the offending speeches. Has pulled up BOTH sides to appear ‘neutral’ but with no visible deterrent. With the campaign almost over (complaints were made almost a month ago), it’s too little too late. Toothless EC? Or spineless? You decide,” posted Rajdeep.

Sudheendra Kulkarni, a former aide to senior BJP leader L.K. Advani, also slammed the Election Commission for failing to act against the culprits. “You are shameless. Here’s how you protect BJP and its top star campaigners: You have no spine to act against the culprits. So, you cover up your inaction by pretending that you are acting against the culprits…(and do so when 2024 campaign is almost over),” he posted on X.

Former diplomat K.C. Singh pointed out that the reaction of the commission came when five of the seven phases of the election were already over. “Too little too late. Looks like a weak attempt to recover lost credibility,” he said.

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