Why single out Modi over media bite, Jaitley to EC

Why single out Modi over media bite, Jaitley to EC

After Samajwadi Party, it’s now the BJP which has taken objections to the Election Commission’s directive to book its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for addressing media after casting his vote in Vadodara.

Defending Modi, who too was dismissive about the Commission’s decision, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley critically remarked that the EC acted in “haste” and “missed out the larger vision”.  

Virtually questioning the Commission’s silence on previous occasions, Jaitley recalled  how Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen too spoke to mediapersons after casting their votes.

After casting his vote,  Modi merely interacted with the waiting media since “he was not expected to be rude enough and give the media no comments,” Arun Jaitley posted in his latest blog.

Pointing out what he claims are legal lacunas, the lawyer turned politician said that the EC’s order fails to “clear as to what the definition of the ‘polling area’ is. Is it the polling station? In any event the comment was made outside the polling station”.

The EC took offence to  Modi’s media interaction in Vadodara holding it as a ‘public meeting’ that happened within ‘polling area’.

 “The Election Commission’s order makes it appear that the entire country could be a polling area since the media comment could be seen in every part of the country.  When Constitutional institutions react in haste and even anger, they miss out the larger vision.  Criminal law provisions are to be strictly construed. Their meaning can’t be stretched out..Media byte is not a public meeting,” he commented.

On the other hand, the BJP candidate from Amritsar argued that prosecuting media for airing politicians views would amount to restricting free speech guaranteed by the Constitution.

Insisting that the EC’s interpretation may “ fall foul”,  he recalled that Amartya Sen spoke to the media after voting on Wednesday and prior to him, Manmohan Singh too did the same in Assam.

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