EC reviewing BJP, Cong responses on code breaches

NEW DELHI: Election Commission is examining the responses of BJP and Congress to its notices on allegations of violations of model code of conduct (MCC) by their star campaigners, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi. Sources said both the parties have defended their leaders’ speeches.
An Election Commission official said BJP president J P Nadda submitted his reply to the poll panel on Monday evening.Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge had given his reply last week. “We will examine and proceed,” the source added.
With polling completed in 96 parliamentary constituencies on Monday, voting for more than two-thirds of Lok Sabha seats are over and the next three phases will see voting in fewer seats.
Former Election Commission officials TOI spoke to admitted that the poll panel should have acted by now considering that notices to chiefs of the two national parties were sent on April 25. Both political parties got enough time to respond and the poll panel to act, they said. “Any action or advisory by EC has its importance and sends a strong message to all party leaders and candidates,” one of them said.
Setting a new trend, of making party presidents accountable for the alleged violation of MCC by their candidates and star campaigners, the poll commission had sent notices to Nadda and Kharge seeking their responses to the alleged violations by Modi and Rahul.
EC had sought the replies by April 29, but both the parties had sought more time.
Election Commission had acted after getting complaints from rival political parties mentioning their “objectionable” speeches during the poll campaign.
The poll panel had said political parties need to take primary and increasing responsibility for the conduct of their candidates in general and star campaigners while “star campaigner would continue to remain responsible for speeches made”.

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