Acting on a Congress complaint, the Election Commission on Wednesday slapped a notice on Narendra Modi for prima facie violating the model code of conduct over his "khooni panja" (bloodied hand) remark on the Congress poll symbol.
The poll panel has asked Modi to explain by 5 pm on November 16, why action should not be initiated against him for the said remark made while campaigning in Chhattisgarh. "Whereas, it has been, prima facie, observed that by making the aforesaid statements, you have violated the provisions of the model code of conduct...
"Now, therefore, you are hereby called upon to explain by 5 pm of November 16, 2013 as to why action should not be taken against you for aforesaid violation of the model code of conduct," the EC notice said.
The EC said if no reply is received within the prescribed time, it will be presumed that he has nothing to say and the commission will take appropriate action without any further reference to him.
A copy of the video CD of Modi's speech of November 7 in Dongargarh Rajnandgaon of Chhattisgarh was obtained by the commission along with remarks by the returning officer before issuing the notice to him.
Modi while campaigning in Chhattisgarh on November 7 had said, "When Atal Behari Vajpayee formed Chhattisgarh, whose hands did it first go into...Do you want such a "khooni panja" (bloodied hand) again...Brothers and sisters, don't commit that mistake again. Even by mistake, don't ever let
Chhattisgarh go into the hands of a 'zalim panja' (cruel hands)."
The EC notice comes close on the heels of a similar notice issued to Rahul Gandhi over his remarks of the Inter-Services Intelligence link to Muzaffarnagar riot victim remarks and accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party of spreading hatred among communities. The EC has expressed its displeasure to Gandhi and asked him to be more circumspect in his public utterances in future.
The Congress party had formally complained to the EC on November 9 against Modi's remarks, close on the heels of the BJP complaint against Gandhi.
The poll body has said that since the model code of conduct was in force in Chhattisgarh, which goes to polls in two phases on November 11 and 19, criticism of other political parties is not allowed. "Whereas' sub para (2) of Para I of the model code of conduct for the guidance of political parties and candidates' inter-alia' provides that "criticism of other political parties, when made, shall be confined to their policies and programme' past record and works...criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified allegations or distortion shall be avoided," the notice said.
Image: Narendra Modi addresses supporters during a rally in Chhattisgarh