Prime Minister Narendra Modi
The Congress approached the Election Commission on Monday, seeking action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, including a ban on his campaigning, for his remarks against former PM Rajiv Gandhi. A team of Congress leaders, comprising Abhishek Singhvi, Rajiv Shukla and Salman Khurshid, met the Election Commissioners and demanded that the EC take immediate action against Modi for his remarks, which they termed "uncultured, illegal and against Indian traditions".
"We have sought an immediate ban on the prime minister's campaign. We have emphasised to the Election Commission that it is very important for its own credibility, as the EC had kept complaints pending for over 30 days in the past," Singhvi told reporters.
He said the Congress has so far made 11 complaints with the EC, but no action has been taken, despite going to the Supreme Court.
"There are around two weeks left for the elections (to complete) and there should be an immediate ban on the prime minister's campaigning and a notice of 24 hours should be given at the most and action should come within 48 hours," he said.
On Saturday at a poll rally in Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Modi said that the life of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's father and former PM Rajiv Gandhi had ended as "bhrashtachari number 1".
Singhvi said it seemed the PM was not aware of the Indian culture.
He has a "tendency to make statements for cheap electoral gains", the Congress leader said, noting the remarks were not worthy of a person occupying the top post in the country.
Singhvi said after almost 14 years, a petition was filed against Rajiv Gandhi and the same was turned down by the Supreme Court on November 2, 2018.
"I want to ask whether this country is run by the rule of law or the statement of the prime minister," Singhvi said.
He also accused Modi and other BJP leaders of indulging in blatant violation of laws.
"We want to ask, who is telling a lie, who is indulging in misleading campaign, and distortion of facts," he said.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, meanwhile, said that while the Congress chief and his party can criticise an honest prime minister as a "chor" (thief) and no model code is preventing them from saying so, but if the PM calls the Congress legacy "corrupt", the grand old party demands action against him and files complaints to the EC.
"Are there two Model Codes of Conduct," Jaitley asked in a tweet.
The Congress in its memorandum to the EC requested for urgent and necessary censures/strictures against Modi for using obscene/derogatory remarks for the late Rajiv Gandhi.
"The derogatory remarks by Mr. Narendra Modi are not only unbecoming of a prime minister but have also met with widespread condemnation from across the country," the memorandum said.
The party also said that despite the court's orders, the prime minister in a "vile and malicious attempt to malign the former prime minister's image has gone this far ahead with his false accusations only to further his election propaganda".
"Usage of such obscene/derogatory language by the prime minister is not only defamatory but also violates the directions of the Model Code of Conduct that must be strictly observed and followed," the Congress said.
"Yet again we are constrained to beseech this Commission and remind it of its constitutional powers under Article 324 of the Constitution. So far, this election has recorded the greatest number of lapses “deliberately and maliciously” by a sitting prime minister in recorded history. A complete lack of action against the prime minister has made these actions all the more egregious. The ECI must not let its sanctity be compromised.
"We hope the Commission deems this a matter worth addressing and treats it with the urgency it deserves," the party said in its complaint to EC.
Earlier, Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said the statements from BJP leaders have given a clear impression that the saffron party is in "electoral depression".
He said by attacking Rajiv Gandhi the PM has "proved that the BJP campaign has reached a dead end. In fact, it is that car which has no tyre or engine. The people of India are very intelligent."
"The camp BJP is nervous, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who for the past five years, was in panic mode or rather in flight mode, today is in an electoral panic mode.
"In the past five years, the prime minister could not uplift the standard of living of the people of the country, but, he completely singlehandedly lowered the standard of politics in the country," Shergill said.
The Congress leader asked the first-time voter of 2019 to definitely consult the first-time voter of 2014 to know the reality of BJP.
"The truth of the matter is 2014 slogan was ?Har-Har Modi, Ghar-Ghar Modi' and 2019 slogan is ?Bye-Bye Modi, Bye-Bye Modi'," he said.
To a question on the violence in West Bengal, Shergill said the Congress condemns any kind of violence being witnessed in any state in India during the on-going poll process.
"The Election Commission should definitely look into the violence; prevent future violence in the remaining period to ensure that people cast their vote freely and without any fear. That is our people and I hope the Election Commission and the central forces will look into it," he said.