New Delhi: The Election Commission Tuesday reprimanded Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa for violating the Model Code of Conduct in connection with his alleged hate speech and asked him to be cautious in future.
The BJP leader who is also the candidate from Shimoga assembly constituency in Karnataka has been booked for allegedly inciting communal feelings and promoting hatred and ill-will between different classes in society in a speech on April 9 while campaigning in Shimoga for the Karnataka Assembly elections.
Karnataka goes to polls on May 5 and counting will take place on May 8.
The poll body issued an order today after taking into account Eshwarappa`s initial reply to its notice issued to him on April 12 and twice extending the time for his final reply till April 22 on his request.
Today`s order was passed after the full Commission headed by Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath and Election Commissioners H S Brahma and Nasim Zaidi discussed the issue.
"The perusal of your impugned statement leaves no one in doubt that the same has the effect of inciting communal feelings and promoting hatred and ill-will between different classes of citizens of India, in a surcharged election atmosphere, which is prohibited under the Model Code of Conduct;
"Now, therefore, the Commission has decided to reprimand you for having made the above provocative statement in violation of the Model Code of Conduct and has cautioned you to be careful in future," the EC order to Eshwarappa said.
The EC had obtained the CD of the hate speech and reviewed its contents where Eshwarappa had made certain controversial remarks.
While reprimanding Eshwarappa, the EC did not accept his contention that he had made the speech on April 9 before the election process in Karnataka started on April 10 with the issue of poll notification.
The poll body said the apex court has agreed that the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) comes into force from the date of announcement of election schedule by the Election Commission which was March 20, 2013 in this case and not from the date of notification of election.
It also held that the statement of Eshwarappa so made prima facie violated Sub Para (1) and (3) of Para (I) of MCC, and also constituted a violation of Sec 123 and 125 of Representation of the People Act, 1951; 153A, 153 B and 505 of IPC amounting to corrupt practice and electoral offence in electoral matters.
The Model Code prohibits inciting any communal feelings and no party or candidate shall include in any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic.
It says there shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes.