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|November 23, 1998||
BJP annoyed by EC's ban on poll poster
The Bharatiya Janata Party has protested strongly against the Election Commission's ex-parte decision to ban its election advertisement and demanded an immediate review of the decision.
The BJP's Delhi election campaign committee chairman, Professor Vijay Kumar Malhotra, said the party had already sent a protest letter to the Commission. He emphasised that the BJP should have been consulted before the decision was taken.
"The Election Commission should consider our protest letter and revise its ex-parte decision," he said.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani told the media in Jaipur that there was nothing wrong in the advertisement. But if the EC says it violates the code of conduct, the party will not use it, he added.
Yesterday, the EC had upheld the Congress complaint that the advertisement, which was published in a Delhi newspaper, violated paragraph 1(2) of the model code of conduct.
Deploring the advertisement, Election Commission Secretary K J Rao said in a letter to BJP general secretary M Venkaiah Naidu, who is in charge of the party's affairs in Delhi, that the advertisement clearly violates paragraph 1(2) of the code.
Malhotra, however, claimed there was no violation of the model code and the advertisement presented the "factual position".
No Congress politician was named in the poster. And whatever was written about Dawood Ibrahim aide Romesh Sharma and Sushil Sharma, the former Delhi Congress politician who was implicated in the Naina Sahni murder case in 1995, was correct, he said. Both Sharmas are currently lodged in Tihar Jail.
Even Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, who has been indicted by the Central Bureau of Investigation and named in the Bofors papers, is close to the "Sonia family", he said.
The BJP also said it stands by its complaint about returning officers accepting facsimile copies of the 'B' form from 107 Congress candidates in Madhya Pradesh and is gathering evidence to substantiate its charge.
The Election Commission had rejected the BJP's charge as baseless.
"There is no need to tender any apology to the guilty," BJP general secretary Narendra Modi said in Bhopal. The Congress had demanded an apology from the BJP in view of the EC's verdict.
Modi said senior party politician and former chief minister Sunderlal Patwa, who had complained about the irregularities, was gathering information to substantiate his charge, which he would do after the election.
Patwa had alleged at a media conference in Bhopal that the returning officers of 107 constituencies had accepted fax copies of the 'B' form from Congress candidates, violating the EC's guidelines.
After getting the matter investigated by a senior officer of the Indian Administrative Service, the Election Commission had found the complaints to be baseless.
Asked if his party disagrees with the inquiry findings, Modi said he would not like to comment on the Election Commission.
He also refused to comment on Chief Minister Digvijay Singh's complaint to the Election Commission that Governor Bhai Mahavir had violated the model code of conduct by holding discussions for an hour with BJP candidate Yashodhararaje Scindia, who is contesting the Shivpuri seat. "The governor has already clarified. I have nothing to say," he said.
Modi reiterated that his party would form governments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, which is all set to become a new state soon.
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