Vol. XLIII No. 16 April 21, 2019

PM Flagrantly Violates the MCC

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, Nilotpal Basu,  has written to the chief election commissioner, Election Commission of India on April 16, regarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks on Sabarimala temple, in his election rallies, aiming at communal polarisation. 

Referring to an instance of flagrant violation of the model code of conduct (MCC) by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, Basu pointed out that the atmosphere is being vitiated in the election campaign by importing polarising issues. Narendra Modi’s statements in election rallies in Ramanathapuram in Theni in Tamilnadu and Bangalore in Karnataka on April 13 are emphatic pointers to this trend.

While addressing the Theni rally, he accused the communists and the Muslim League of playing a dangerous game on Sabarimala and initiating ‘to strike at the root of faith’. He asserted that: “as long as there is BJP none can destroy our faith.”

This is a clear example as to how Narendra Modi is not only violating MCC but also implicitly challenging the order of the Election Commission to refrain from using Sabarimala temple and Lord Ayyappa in the election campaign. To recapitulate, the LDF government has, time and again, reiterated that it does not stand against faith; but was confining itself to implementing the Supreme Court order. Bringing in the question of faith and accusing the LDF government in Kerala, the prime minister was trying to appeal to the people belonging to the ‘faith’ and which is clearly against MCC, as well as, the EC’s specific order. In these days of media and the internet, the restriction of geographical boundary does not hold.

We are witnessing that the Commission has passed certain orders against some political leaders. We have also observed that the Supreme Court had reminded the Commission of adequate powers which need to be proactively exercised to ensure restraint on the polarising thrust of BJP’s campaign.

Since, the Election Commission of India itself is an independent constitutional authority and the Supreme Court order was in the spirit of the constitutional order, charging the communists and the LDF government for implementing the apex court order amounts to, not just vitiating the atmosphere but undermining the constitutional order which defines the limits of the election campaign.

The CEC was urged upon to take immediate appropriate action against the efforts of the prime minster and his role in the flagrant violation.