Election Commission examined video CD of his Chhattisgarh speech of November 7

The Election Commission on Thursday examined a video CD of a gathering Narendra Modi addressed at Rajnandgaon in Chhattisgarh on November 7 after the Congress alleged in a November 9 complaint that the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate had violated the model code of conduct.

It asked Mr. Modi to be more careful in his public discourses.

After unfavourably considering Mr. Modi’s November 19 reply to its notice on his khooni panjaa remark, the EC pointed out that the right to freedom of speech and expression, under Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution, “is not absolute and is to be exercised in such a manner that it does not transcend, inter alia, the boundaries of decency and morality or disturb the public order or cause defamation.”

In his reply, Mr. Modi denied the allegations, saying he had only criticised the policies and programmes of the Congress and not made any personal attacks on its leaders.

However, Mr. Modi said that in the spirit of fostering a healthy democracy, he would remain willing to engage with the EC in evolving more specific guidelines for maintaining decorum in public discourse.

While the EC noted that Mr. Modi was conscious of its concern at the language in public discourse, it refused to accept his stand that the same strict standards cannot be enforced for remarks against political parties.

‘Decorum paramount’

“The Commission considers that while criticising the policies, programmes and past records of political parties, the expressions and utterances, even when used colloquially, have to be couched in such terms that the same conform to dignity, decorum and public morality,” the order noted.

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