Ask star campaigners to play by the book, EC tells BJP, Congress | India News

NEW DELHI: Rejecting the defence of both BJP and Congress for utterances of their star campaigners in violation of the model code of conduct, Election Commission on Wednesday asked the presidents of both parties to direct their star campaigners to refrain from making any statements that may aggravate communal or caste differences.
Stating that India’s socio-cultural milieu was an enduring preserve and could not be made a casualty of elections, EC in separate letters to BJP chief J P Nadda and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said the two parties were not allowed to weaken the heritage of quality electoral experience of Indian voters.
While pointing to extra responsibility shouldered by the party in office to keep up the level of discourse during poll time, EC added that even the opposition could not be allowed unlimited extra space. “The utterances of the concerned star campaigners follow patterns and create narratives which can be damaging beyond the model code period,” it noted.
In its letter to Nadda, EC asked him to direct his party’s star campaigners to avoid religious or communal overtones in their campaign speeches. It asked him to ensure that star campaigners did not make speeches that divided society.
EC’s communication follows a notice issued to BJP earlier in the wake of opposition’s complaint that PM Modi had made a divisive speech in Banswara, Rajasthan. In his reply, Nadda had maintained that the statements of BJP’s star campaigners relied on facts to expose the “mal-intent” of Congress to the nation.
A notice was sent simultaneously to Kharge against utterances of Congress’s star campaigners in violation of the model code. EC asked him to direct star campaigners to avoid utterances that may create mutual hatred or tension along communal, religious or caste lines. It asked him to tell the party’s star campaigners not to give a false impression that the Constitution may be abolished or changed. Some Congress leaders had made such references while questioning the Agnipath scheme.

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