A delegation of senior Congress leaders today met Election Commission officials to demand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi be banned from campaigning as penalty for denigrating late premier Rajiv Gandhi at a recent rally.
"We have apprised the Election Commission of a very serious statement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against Rajiv Gandhi. It seems like the person who made such statements has no knowledge or understanding of Indian culture and tradition. The Prime Minister and the BJP chief are continuously making statements that violate the law," news agency ANI quoted Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi as telling mediapersons after the meeting.
"We have appealed to the Election Commission to impose an immediate campaigning prohibition on PM Modi. We have asked them to decide on the matter within 48 hours," he added. Besides Mr Singhvi, senior Congress leaders Rajiv Shukla and Salman Khurshid were also part of the delegation.
PM Modi had made the controversial remark while targeting Congress president Rahul Gandhi at an election rally in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday. "Your father was termed 'Mr Clean' by his courtiers but his life ended as the 'Corrupt No 1'," he said, referring to the Bofors scam that broke out under the late Prime Minister.
Mr Singhvi claimed that denigrating Rajiv Gandhi in such terms was abhorrent, given that the case against him had already been dismissed. "On February 4, 2004, the Delhi High Court quashed the charges against Rajiv Gandhi in the case. This decision has not been challenged for about 14 years," ANI quoted him as saying.
The Uttar Pradesh Congress had written to the Election Commission in this regard earlier today. "The Prime Minister's statement is not only a violation of the Model Code of Conduct but also an insult of a martyred Bharat Ratna awardee. Hence, we appeal to the Election Commission to take action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi by barring him from speaking at public rallies," it read.
The Election Commission has cleared PM Modi of poll code violations on six occasions, with the latest clean chit coming on Saturday.
(With inputs from ANI)