AHMEDABAD/NEW DELHI: Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Wednesday questioned the Election Commission’s directive to file criminal case against the media, besides Narendra Modi, for violation of election norms.
Modi had addressed a news conference immediately near a polling booth after casting his vote on Wednesday and displayed his party symbol — the lotus — prominently.
“They have asked (Gujarat authorities) to file an FIR against the media for asking questions. Well if that is the situation, then I think (its) legality is in seriousness (sic),” Jaitley said, after casting his vote at a polling booth off Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway here.
Jaitley, who is contesting Lok Sabha election from Amritsar, is a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat.
Congress congratulates EC
Meanwhile, the Congress on Wednesday congratulated the Election Commission over registration of an FIR, on its directive, against Narendra Modi.
“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,” law minister and Congress leader Kapil Sibal said.
He also took a dig at Modi saying he was surprised that a person, who is a candidate for the country’s top post would come out of the polling booth and do such a thing.
“By showing the party symbol and by urging people to vote for lotus, Modi has proved that he has nothing to do with ethics and laws. He is an opportunist and he can do whatever he wishes to,” said Sibal.
FIRs against Modi
Earlier on Wednesday, in legal trouble for Narendra Modi, the Ahmedabad crime branch on Wednesday lodged two FIRs against him for alleged violation of the election law following a directive from the EC.
“Two FIRs have been registered by the city crime branch in connection with the events,” Gujarat DGP PC Thakur told PTI when asked if the police has registered an FIR against Modi.
Sources in the crime branch said that as per EC directive, FIRs have been registered invoking sections specified by the poll panel.
Modi had triggered a controversy when he addressed a news conference immediately after casting his vote at a school at Ranip area of Ahmedabad, part of party veteran LK Advani’s Gandhinagar seat, where he prominently displayed the BJP’s election symbol lotus.
The poll panel’s order directing lodging of a complaint/FIR said Modi had violated the provisions of Sections 126 (1)(a) and 126 (l)(b) of Representation of People Act, 1951. The maximum punishment under these provisions of RPA is upto two years imprisonment.
Ahmedabad Police commissioner Shivanand Jha said the police had complied with the EC order and registered FIRs.
“We have complied with the Election Commission’s order and sent our compliance report to them,” he said.
The Congress party accused him of violating the election law and filed a complaint with the EC.
The EC order said, “The commission is of the view that by holding that meeting and also by addressing the same today when the polling is going on in the entire state of Gujarat and in different parts of the country, Narendra Modi has violated the provisions of Sections 126 (1)(a) and 126 (l)(b) of RP Act 1951.
“Therefore, the commission directs … that complaint/ FIR as the case may be, should be filed against Narendra Modi and all others who were involved in the convening and holding of the said meeting,” the EC order said.
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 panel had sought compliance by 6pm. According to the section 126 (1) (a) and (b), there is a prohibition of public meetings during period of 48 hours ending with hour fixed for conclusion of poll.