Model Code of Conduct violation: Kalyan Singh and other controversies
The Election Commission is planning to take action against the Rajasthan governor for violating the MCC.
The Election Commission of India (EC) is planning to take action against Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh for violating the Model Code of Conduct. According to media reports, the EC is planning to write to President Ram Nath Kovind to take the matter forward regarding appropriate action against him.
The incident that got Singh into trouble happened at an event in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh on March 23. Interacting with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers, Singh said, “We are all BJP workers, so we will want the BJP to win. Everyone will want Narendra Modi to become Prime Minister again. Modi becoming PM is necessary for the nation and society.”
Singh was made the governor of Rajasthan in 2014, but has had a long history with the BJP. He has been a member of the party for a long time and even served two terms as chief minister of UP. He was first elected chief minister in 1991. Under his watch, the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya was demolished by Kar Sevaks. According to the charge sheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation, he also actively took part in the sequence of events that ultimately led to the destruction of the mosque.
While the EC seems to be taking action against the BJP for the MCC violation, this incident is the only one of several questionable actions. Since the election has been declared, several activities associated with the ruling party have raised red flags as potential MCC violations. Asiaville has published a story in the recent past about activities related to the BJP causing controversy. However, since then, there have been more, apart from the Kalyan Singh episode.
‘Mai bhi chowkidar’ paper cups
Recently, as part of their build up to the general elections, Modi and several BJP leaders undertook a social media campaign called “Mai bhi chowkidar”, a play on Modi describing himself as the chowkidar of the nation. The term travelled far, but ran afoul of the MCC after it appeared on paper cups in trains run by the Indian Railways (IR). The matter came to light after a passenger took to Twitter to talk about it.
A showcause notice has been issued by the EC to the Indian Railways to explain why these cups were allowed. The EC is learnt to have invoked the ‘party in power’ clause of the poll code in the case as it could be averred that the ‘party in power’ is using government transport for election publicity. In an official statement, IR said that they have withdrawn the cup and penalised the contractor.
Anti-satellite missile launch
On March 27, Modi took to national television to announce that India had successfully launched an ‘anti-satellite’ missile. The missile successfully struck an object located at an altitude of 300km. the address caused much controversy as the MCC was in force and the Opposition alleged that the televised address was in violation. They said that Modi did not need to give a televised address to announce it, which could have handled by a DRDO official. However, after an investigation, the EC ruled that it was not a violation of the MCC.
Recently, a channel has appeared on various Direct-to-Home TV platforms called Content TV. On April 2, the Congress moved the EC, alleging that the channel was being used to promote BJP and Modi. Content TV has been found to be dedicated solely to Modi and the BJP for promoting and advertising the achievements of the government, personal achievements of the PM, his political rallies, and broadcasting interviews of prominent BJP leaders, a memorandum submitted by the Congress to the EC said.
"We have made three representations to the EC. The other two representations are related to the misuse of Doordarshan by the BJP in broadcasting certain speeches made by the Prime Minister and the use of a particular channel which has come up, in which the logo is 'Namo', and under the Representation of People Act and the guidelines of the EC there cannot be campaigning in this fashion," Congress leader Kapil Sibal told the media.