EC withdraws notice issued to Rahul Gandhi over TV interview

Elias Hubbard
December 18, 2017

"The poll body also asked him to 'explain why action should not be taken against you for violating provisions of Model Code of Conduct, failing which Commission will decide matter without any further reference to you".

The Election Commission on Sunday withdrew its show cause notice to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct, saying the provision under which it was issued is now under review.

Briefing media about the voter turnout in the second phase on Thursday, senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha said "No FIR has been lodged against Rahul Gandhi".

Counting of votes for the Gujarat election will be held on Monday for the Gujarat Assembly polls, which is considered a prestige battle for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his home state and a litmus test for Rahul.

The EC had asked Rahul to reply by 5 PM on 18 December over his interview to TV channels.

Rahul had given interviews to several TV channels including ABP News after the campaigning ended for the second phase. Congress communications incharge Randeep Surjewala tweeted.

The statement said after due deliberations, the EC had directed the Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat "to initiate necessary action by filing FIR against those who have violated the above mentioned provisions in phase two districts in Gujarat".

In an order issued on Sunday night, it said the proposed committee will have members from the poll panel, the information and broadcasting, law and IT ministries, in addition to those from the National Broadcasters Associations (NBA) and Press Council of India (PCI).

The panel will "examine these provisions in the prevailing context of communication technologies and suggest required changes", it said. "Such display falls within the definition of "election matter" under Section 126 (3) of Representation of the People Act, 1951 and display of such election matter within 48 hours ending with hour fixed for conclusion of poll in the poll-going areas, amounts to violation of Section 126 (1)(b) of Representation of the People Act, 1951", it said.

The Commission also found that BJP's election manifesto release on the eve of first phase of polling noting that there is no limit prescribed in the model code of conduct in this regard.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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