A day after a complaint was filed against BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi over his marital status, Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath on Saturday said the Commission would examine it in accordance with the Supreme Court judgements.
“The complaint has come before the Commission just as we were leaving yesterday to come on this tour. There are some very clear judgements of the Supreme Court on the matter. The complaint will be examined in the light of relevant provisions of law and the Supreme Court judgement,” he told reporters in Chennai, when queried about the issue.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal had on Friday moved the Election Commission over the issue of the marital status of Mr. Modi by seeking action by the poll body against the BJP leader for “hiding” facts in election affidavits filed by him in the past.
He said that between 2002 and 2012, Mr. Modi had filed election affidavits while contesting the Gujarat assembly elections, where he had not mentioned his marital status.
To another query on recent speeches made by Uttar Pradesh politician and SP leader Azam Khan, the CEC said, “It is a matter of great concern and the Commission is seized of the matter... We have given a very strong letter to the government of Uttar Pradesh about the need for filing an FIR in every case of such hate speech, inciting communal feeling, etc.”
“Not only filing an FIR but take every consequential action. And where there is no option, we have also said that those who indulge in repeating such violations, they shall not be given permission to address public meetings, etc during the election period. We have communicated this to all states to take criminal action in such cases,” Mr. Sampath, who reviewed poll preparations for the April 24 Lok Sabha election in Tamil Nadu, said.
He brushed aside criticism by political leaders, including NCP chief Sharad Pawar that the strict vigil by EC on movement of cash across the country has hit smooth running of business and caused harassment to innocent people.
“Any person who is carrying cash with adequate document in which he can explain the source of the money and purpose for which he is carrying it will be let off. It is not very difficult to carry relevant papers for it.”
“The intention of the Commission is not to harass innocent citizens but at the same time, we cannot allow unbridled use of money power to influence the outcome of the elections,” he asserted.
Social media was another field the Commission was looking into very seriously. “We are looking at it from expenditure angle. We are treating social media on par with the electronic media. The advertisements made on electronic media are subject to electoral officials’ certification. Similarly, ads on social media will also be done so.”