FIR lodged against Modi after EC order for poll code violation

FIR lodged against Modi after EC order for poll code violation

An FIR was today lodged against Narendra Modi by the Gujarat police following an order of the Election Commission's which held that he violated the model code.

In an embarrassment for him, the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate faced EC's action for displaying party's election symbol 'Lotus' and making a speech after casting his vote in Gandhinagar.

"We have complied with the Election Commission's order. We have filed FIRs and we have given the compliance report to the EC, Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad, Shivanand Jha told reporters.

The EC had also ordered that FIR be filed against electronic media for carrying the proceedings relating to Modi.

"Two FIRs have been registered by the city crime branch in connection with the events," Gujarat DGP P C Thakur told PTI when asked if the police has registered an FIR against Modi.

Modi had triggered a controversy when he addressed a press conference immediately after casting his vote at a school at Ranip area of Ahmedabad, part of party veteran L K Advani's Gandhinagar seat, where he prominently displayed BJP's election symbol.
The Congress party accused him of violating the model code and registered a complaint with the EC.

"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 R P 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 6 pm.

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.

Late in the evening, Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi said in Delhi that the Gujarat government has sent its compliance report to the EC.

Congress had quickly moved the Election Commission accusing Modi of blatant violation of the model code of conduct.

In Delhi, responding to questions, BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi asserted that Modi has "not violated the election code. It was not an organised press conference".

She, however, went on to add, "the Election Commission is a Constitutional institution and we respect it. We will abide by its decision."

Though it is a normal practice for top leaders to make brief statements to the media after casting their votes, what irked Modi's rivals was a press conference that the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate held during which he not only fervently asked the electorate to vote for the party but also launched a tirade against Congress.

The tech-savvy BJP's prime ministerial hopeful was also seen happily clicking selfies while prominently displaying the party symbol.

AICC legal department secretary K C Mittal promptly filed a complaint to the EC, saying Modi's speech and display of symbol was in violation of section 126 of RP Act (RPA) and demanded an FIR be registered against him.

"It is noticed from the live news telecast on various news channels that Modi went to the polling station at Gandhinagar to cast his vote.

"And on his way out he was campaigning for BJP and delivering speech in a fashion to canvas for BJP, himself and also displayed the election symbol to the public while showing his finger for having cast his vote," the party said in the complaint, adding, "he may also be disqualified for such blatant violation."

The EC took the decision after going through the video recording of Modi's address after he cast his vote today.

It said from the substance, tone and tenor of the address made by Modi and the statements made by him and the manner in which the symbol 'Lotus' was displayed by him, "the said address was in the nature of political speech intended and calculated to influence and affect the result of elections in the constituencies going to polls today, not only in Ahmadabad but also in all other constituencies in the state of Gujarat and elsewhere in the country."

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