Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: After Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Bharatiya Janata Party`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is on the radar of the Election Commission.
On Wednesday, the EC issued notice to Modi for alleged poll code violation over his `Khooni Panja` remark.
The EC has asked Modi to explain by 5 PM on November 16 why action should not be initiated against him for model code violation.
"Whereas, it has been, prima facie, observed that by making the aforesaid statements, you have violated the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct," the EC notice said.
The EC also said if no reply is received within the prescribed time, it will be presumed that he has nothing to say and the Commission will take appropriate action without any further reference to him.
A copy of the video CD of Modi`s speech of November 7 in Dongargarh Rajnandgaon of Chhattisgarh was obtained by the Commission alongwith remarks by the Returning Officer before issuing the notice to him.
BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman, meanwhile, asserted that there was no violation of model code of conduct by Modi. She added that the BJP will respond to the EC notice in detail.
On November 10, the Congress had moved the EC demanding stern action against Modi over his remark at a rally in poll-bound Chhattisgarh.
KC Mittal, the secretary, legal and human rights department of the Congress, had said: "The hand is our election symbol... He (Modi) called it `khooni panja` (bloody hand) at a Chhattisgarh rally. His remarks are against the model code of conduct and defamatory. We have demanded stern action against Modi and the BJP."
Mittal had also added that Modi also described the Congress symbol as "zalim haath" (cruel hand) and the party would give more material to the EC in support of its complaint.
The EC`s move came a few days after the Bharatiya Janata Party complained to the poll panel against Rahul Gandhi`s speeches in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
The BJP said Gandhi violated the model code by accusing it of instigating communal riots. Gandhi had also said that Pakistan`s Inter Services Intelligence was trying to reach out to Muslims affected by September`s Muzaffarnagar riots.
Following BJP`s petition to the poll panel, Gandhi was served a notice to which he replied earlier this month, and said he had not violated the model code of conduct.
Citing his remarks verbatim, the party said that norms prescribed by the poll panel say that "criticism of other political parties, when made, shall be confined to their policies and programme, past record and work."
The party said the tenor and language used by Modi apparently shows that he has "intentionally and deliberately" used abusive words and remarks.
The Congress said the manner in which Modi referred to "khooni panja" was calculated to "depict the Congress and its symbol in the worst possible light, and cause people to fear" it.
"The use of the expression `khooni panja` is extremely significant and deplorable and has an effect of terrorising the public at large against the Congress. `Khooni panja` means a bloodied hand, and directly abuses the Congress party, implying that it is involved in heinous activities," the party said.
It said Modi has failed to maintain "the standards of the level playing field" as prescribed by the poll panel.
The party also gave the poll panel a DVD of Modi`s speech at Dongargarh in Chhattisgarh.
(With Agency inputs)