Congress accuses Modi of using religion for campaigning, moves EC

New Delhi - Accusing Narendra Modi of using religion for canvassing by putting out Lord Ram’s portrait in the backdrop at his Faizabad rally, Congress on Monday approached Election Commission demanding registration of an FIR against him and other party leaders as well as derecognition of BJP.

“We have complained to the Election Commission on what symbols were used in Faizabad, while Modi was giving his speech, the Ram Mandir and Lord Ram. This is a clear violation of the model code of conduct and we have asked the Election Commission to intervene immediately and take some strict action against Modi,” senior Congress leader and Union Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters after meeting EC.

Sibal also brought the statement of Modi on Bangladeshi immigrants to the notice of the Election Commission authorities, saying it is not expected of a leader.

“He (Modi) said those who worship Goddess Durga can remain, but the rest must pack up to Bangladesh. I think it is equally actionable what he has said. Again it is not expected of a leader,” he added.

Sibal also sought Election Commission’s intervention into distribution of scurrilous pamphlets against Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi at Amethi. In the communication to the EC, the AICC said the language along with the photographs including of Baba Ramdev and Sadhvi Prgya in such books unequivocally establishes that these have been printed, distributed and circulated during election period to spread religious and communal hatred for seeking votes.

The party also raised the issue of Modi’s statements on Bangladeshi immigrants.

In a separate communication, Congress also protested against the distribution of “objectionable” and “malicious” booklets in Rahul Gandhi’s Parliamentary constituency Amethi by BJP and Aam Aadmi Party as well as gathering of volunteers from RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal to “destabilise” the polls and asked the EC to put preventive measures in place.

Hours after Modi addressed a rally in Faizabad with the portrait of Lord Ram providing the backdrop and asked people living in the birthplace of the Hindu deity to teach Congress for not fulfilling electoral promises, the AICC knocked the EC’s doors alleging that it was clear violation of the law and also the Model Code of Conduct.

“BJP and Modi have used the portrait of Lord Ram, which is strategically placed behind the podium from where the speech is being delivered by him. The headgear of Lord Ram fits on the head of Modi as can be seen in the video, when he is delivering the speech which deceives the gullible voter,” the Secretary of AICC legal department K C Mittal said in a communication to the Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath.

Noting that the rally was being telecast live by all news channels and the internet link was available, Mittal said that this was clear case of canvassing and seeking vote on the basis of religion for BJP and BJP candidates including Modi since the rally was televised in Varanasi also.

“It is a very serious matter and clear violation of the law and also the Model Code of Conduct for which all of them are liable to be prosecuted including Modi. It is therefore, requested that FIR should be registered against all of them and the BJP may be derecognized,” Mittal said.

In a separate communication by Mittal and senior party leader Motilal Vora, the AICC demanded deployment of adequate paramilitary force and taking all preventive measures for conduct of smooth polls in Amethi, where Rahul Gandhi is pitted against BJP’s Smriti Irani and Kumar Vishwas of Aam Aadmi Party.

They alleged that booklets containing material which spread religious and communal hatred and fake, malicious and obscene matter are being distributed in different parts of the country at public places, including trains and buses.

“It has now been come to our notice that a large number of such material has recently been brought, dumped and circulated in Amethi parliamentary constituency but so far the authorities have not taken any action,” Mittal said in the letter.

It also alleged that a large number of anti-social elements and persons with criminal background have entered Amethi to trigger violence and obstruct the conduct of peaceful poll.

“It has been noticed that volunteers belonging to RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishard and Bajrang Dal from outside the limits of Amethi PC have already reached and entered Amethi and more are going to flood the constituency to destabilise and create law and order problem, which will hinder the conduct of elections in smooth and fair manner.

Submitting a list of 124 sensitive polling booths for making special arrangements, the AICC also requested the EC to deply additional forces and depute sufficient number of observers at all the places, in addition to installing CCTV cameras at all the polling booths for conduct of smooth and fair election.