The Ahmadabad Crime Branch on Wednesday filed two FIRs against BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, on the orders of the Election Commission which held him in violation of the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. The action came hours after Modi made a political speech and displayed the party’s symbol after casting his vote.
Acting tough, the Election Commission today directed the Gujarat administration to file a complaint or FIR against BJP’s Prime Minister Candidate & Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for violating electoral laws by displaying BJP’s election symbol and making a speech after casting his vote in Gandhinagar.
The police action came after the Election Commission took serious note of the BJP prime ministerial candidate’s violation of the electoral laws, under which no person can display any election matter or address a meeting in a polling booth on the day of election, and ordered filing of FIR against Modi.
“It is evident from Modi’s tone and tenor that he made a political speech. He intended, calculated to influence voting today. Modi intended to affect the results of polling today across India,” the Election Commission said in its notice.
About 139 million people were registered to vote in the seventh round of a marathon contest pitting Modi against the ruling Congress party, led by the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Results are due on 16 May.
Voting in Gujarat, the opposition’s prime ministerial candidate, whose pro-business policies have delighted investors, brandished a white cutout of a lotus flower and made a scathing speech against Congress heavyweights—taunting them for shying away from the fight.
“The prime minister himself is not fighting the election. The finance minister is not fighting the election. All its top leaders have run away,” Modi said to cheers from a crowd at the polling station in Ahmadabad. He snapped a “selfie” of the lotus and his finger painted with ink after voting and posted the photo on Twitter.
It also said that all the TV channels and other electronic media which carried the proceedings of the meeting and displayed the election matter should also be proceeded against under Section 126 (l) (b) “by filing separate complaints/FlRs against those channels.”
The directive followed demands by the Congress and other groups that Mr. Modi be disqualified for his alleged violation of several sections of the RP Act. The Congress, in its petition to the EC, sought strict action against Mr. Modi for delivering speech in a fashion to canvas for the BJP, himself and also displayed the election symbol to the public while showing his finger for having cast his vote.
Maximum punishment for violating the rule is two years imprisonment, although Modi is unlikely to be charged. Politicians in India routinely face criminal cases that rarely reach the courts. If this allegation gets proved on Modi then Modi might face 2 years of Jail for violating the norms of Election commission.
After filings complain against Modi, law minister and Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, “I am happy that someone has registered an FIR in the case. Had it not been the EC, an FIR against Modi would not have been registered. I congratulate EC that a constitutional and institutional authority has registered the FIR.”
In Delhi, BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi asserted that Modi had “not violated the election code”, saying that “it was not an organized press conference”.