New Delhi, December 13 (Indian Express): The Indian Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday issued a show cause notice to Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi for giving an interview to a Gujarati TV channel a day before the second phase of polls, in violation of model code of conduct.
The EC has asked Gandhi to reply by December 18. “Explain why action should not be taken against you for violating provisions of MCC, failing which Commission will decide matter without any further reference to you,” said EC.
The EC also directed the Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat to register a First Information Report (FIR) against all the media houses which had aired the interview of Rahul Gandhi.
The EC said that all the TV channels which are violating the provisions of Section 126(1)(b) have been directed to stop airing the interview immediately.
The poll panel said Gandhi had talked about the Gujarat Assembly elections in which the polling for the second phase will be held on December 14.
“Such display falls within the definition of “election matter” under Section 126 (3) of Representation of the People Act, 1951 and display of such election matter within 48 hours ending with hour fixed for conclusion of poll in the poll-going areas, amounts to violation of Section 126 (1)(b) of Representation of the People Act, 1951,” it said.
The Congress accused the BJP of using “ the EC as a tool for its political gain.” Addressing a press conference, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala accused the BJP of threatening journalists.
“When Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi gave interviews to a few Gujarati news channels, BJP, in the name of Election Commission, threatened to jail the journalists of those channels for broadcasting it. We condemn this arrogant behavior of BJP,” he said.
In the interview ,Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the controversial General Sales Tax and demonetization ,and also accused the party of evading important questions related to the development of Gujarat.
The second phase of Gujarat polls will take place on December 14.