Police lodge FIR against Modi for poll code breach

Gujarat Police Wednesday registered a FIR against BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on the Election Commission’s directions for violating law by displaying the party’s “lotus” symbol and delivering a political speech after casting his vote.

The complaint was lodged at the Ahmedabad City police station following complaints by Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party that Modi, also the Gujarat chief minister, had displayed a paper lotus after casting his vote at Ranip polling station in Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency.

While the Congress and AAP slammed Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi claimed that Modi had not violated the model code and the party was examining the election commission directive.

The poll panel said in the evening that it had received a compliance order from the Gujarat government.

“We have received the compliance order from Gujarat but since we were busy with the polls, we are yet to see its contents,” Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi told reporters in New Delhi at a press conference on the day polling was held in 89 constituencies in the eighth of the 10-phase parliamentary elections.

The Congress and the AAP had moved the Election Commission against Modi, who is contesting from Vadodra in Gujarat and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

Congress raised objections to “convassing” by Modi on a day polling was held in Gujarat and other parts of the country.

After voting, Modi flashed a paper ‘lotus’, and addressed the media a short distance from the polling station which, the Congress alleged, was a violation of the election code.

The Election Commission, in its letter addressed to the Gujarat chief secretary and the director general of police, also asked them to register a First Information Report (FIR) against television channels and electronic media which “carried the proceedings or images”.

Officials in Ahmedabad said that police complaints were lodged against some TV channels that had telecast Modi’s press conference from the venue.

The Congress petitioned the poll panel soon after Modi’s remarks were shown on TV news channels Wednesday morning.

The party urged the comission to cancel Modi’s candidature from both Vadodara and Varanasi. It also demanded registration of a first information report against Modi for violating the model code of conduct and the representation of people’s Act (RPA).

“We have complained to the Election Commission. We have sought immediate action by … disqualifying Modi from both his seats,” Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal told IANS.

In its complaint to the commission, Congress legal cell secretary K.C. Mittal said displaying the party symbol near a polling centre violated the electoral law.

The AAP meanwhile said that poll panel’s direction to Gujarat government for FIR against Modi was an indication of “habitual offences” by Modi and BJP.

The poll panel in its directive said that display of the party symbol by Modi and his address was in the nature of “political speech” intended to influence and affect results of elections in constituencies going to polls April 30 in Gujarat and outside.

Congress kept up its strong attack on Modi throughout the day.

Party general secretary Shakeel Ahmed said Modi was a “habitual offender” of violating the model code.

Afzal said Modi was “arrogant” and considered himself “above law”.”He is just tearing apart the law… Modi thinks he is already the prime minister and perhaps above law. But he forgets that even the prime minister is not above law.”

Naqvi however took a dig at Congress over its complaint to the poll panel.

“BJP is busy campaiging, the Congress is busy complaining,” Naqvi told IANS.

He claimed that Modi had not violated the poll code and if the Election Commission sought any answers, the BJP will reply.