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EC issues notice to Rahul Gandhi for TV interviews

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi during a ceremony to pay tributes to the martyrs of the 2001 Parliament attack at Parliament House on December 13, 2017.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi during a ceremony to pay tributes to the martyrs of the 2001 Parliament attack at Parliament House on December 13, 2017.   | Photo Credit: AFP

The Election Commission on Wednesday issued notice to Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi asking why action should not be taken against him for violating the Representation of the People Act, hours after several TV channels aired his interview on Gujarat polls.

Taking action on a complaint from the BJP’s Gujarat unit, the Commission instructed Mr. Gandhi to furnish his response by 5 p.m. on December 18. The notice was issued for “prima facie” violation of Section 126(1) (b) of the Act. .

The Congress, in turn, accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of misusing the FICCI platform on Wednesday.

 

Alleging double standards, party communications in charge, Randeep Surjewala said while FIR was being registered against TV channels for showing Mr. Gandhi’s interview, why no such action was being taken against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP president Amit Shah on the same ground.

He said Mr. Jaitley had released the party manifesto in Ahmedabad on December 8; Mr. Modi held four public meetings on December 9; and Mr. Shah addressed a press conference in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. He said a delegation led by Congress leader Ashok Gehlot would visit the EC office late on Wednesday evening.

The BJP had earlier lodged a complaint with the Commission seeking action. “As per the Model Code of Conduct, such interviews are not permitted. We’ve learnt from the EC, too, that 48 hours in the run-up to polls, interviews can’t be given. Is Congress so insecure? Only Rahul Gandhi can answer,” said BJP leader and Union Minister Piyush Goyal.

The Congress accused Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Gujarat BJP Chief Jitubhai Vaghani of making threat calls to media houses for airing Mr. Gandhi’s interview. “BJP is very angry, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Chief Minister himself is calling up television channel offices and their editors threatening them with imprisonment for airing Rahul Gandhi’s interview,” said Mr. Surjewala.

(With inputs from Nistula Hebbar and Sobhana K. Nair)

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2020 4:24:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ec-directs-fir-against-tv-channels-for-airing-rahuls-interview/article21597935.ece

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