Regarding the Violation of Model Code of Conduct by the top BJP Leaders
This is to raise our deep concerns about a series of violations of the Model Code of Conduct and erosion of the very spirit of the elections.
1. In the first phase of elections held on 11 April, there are multiple reports of malfunctioning EVMs in which votes for other parties go to the BJP, and EVM malfunctioning caused prolonged delays which deterred voters. Further, there are disturbing reports of mass disenfranchisement of voters, especially from Dalit and minority communities. We seek your intervention to prevent such EVM malfunctioning and voter disenfranchisement from turning India's elections into a travesty.
2. There are disturbing reports and complaints from voters in Jamui, Bihar during 11 April polling, of the police and district administration pressurising voters to vote for the NDA candidate Chirag Paswan.
3. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of UP and the BJP President Amit Shah have made speeches repeatedly trying to divide and polarize the electorate on religious lines, and invoke the Armed Forces for votes in direct violation of the Model Code of Conduct. In his election speech at Wardha on 1 April, PM Modi said that terror cases filed by the police against certain far-right terrorists, amounted to an insult to Hindus by the Congress Party. In Latur on 9 April, Modi asked first time voters to "dedicate” their votes to the “brave soldiers” who carried out the Balakot air strike and to the “braves martyred” in the Pulwama attack. UP CM Ajay Singh Bisht (Yogi Adityanath) on April 1, referred to the Indian Army as 'Modi ki Sena' and in another speech on April 9 said that the BJP stood for 'Bajrangbali' (the Hindu God) while the SP, BSP, Congress stood for 'Ali' (Muslims). BJP President and Gandhinagar Amit Shah, referring to the green flags of a registered party IUML, said on April 9 at Nagpur that a Congress rally in Wayanad looked like it was in Pakistan not India, implying that green flags associated with the Muslim community had no place in India. In another speech at Ranga Reddy, Telangana on April 11, Shah said that the BJP would extend NRC to the whole country to weed out "infiltrators" as long as they are not Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist - a statement that is in direct contradiction with India's Constitution. These speeches seek to divide India on the lines of faith, create communal tension for electoral benefits, and misuse the Armed Forces to seek votes.
These statements and reports call for swift action by the ECI. EC officials have taken cognisance of Modi's Latur speech as a prima facie violation of the Model Code of Conduct. It is important that action be swift, since in the case of elections, justice delayed is justice denied. We seek that the ECI debar Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Ajay Singh Bisht (Yogi Adityanath) from participating in elections for six years with immediate effect. There is legal basis and precedent for this - in the form of the Supreme Court order of 1995 debarring Bal Thackeray from electoral participation for his hate speeches.
We hope for speedy and decisive action on part of the ECI.
Member Polit Bureau
12 Apr. 19