BJP Gets Notice In Delhi, PM's Inheritance Tax Jibe In Madhya Pradesh

The EC has said it will require party bosses - JP Nadda in the case of the BJP - to ensure that campaigners, such as the Prime Minister, follow its guidelines on "a higher quality of discourse".

BJP Gets Notice In Delhi, PM's Inheritance Tax Jibe In Madhya Pradesh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (File).

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in Madhya Pradesh's Morena Thursday afternoon to campaign for the BJP, ripped into the Congress on the inheritance tax row, and restated controversial remarks about Muslims and the opposition party's alleged plans to "redistribute wealth to infiltrators".

The remarks came hours before a significant first by the Election Commission in Delhi; the poll panel issued notices to BJP boss JP Nadda and his Congress counterpart, Mallikarjun Kharge, on complaints by each other accusing Mr Modi and Rahul Gandhi of hate speech and Model Code violations.

The EC's show-cause notice did not mention either the PM or Mr Gandhi, or even Mr Kharge, in the context of the alleged hate speeches. It did, however, attach copies of the complaint in its notices and, for the first time, held party bosses responsible for their star campaigners' speeches.

READ | On Complaints Against PM, Rahul, Poll Body's Notice To Parties

Essentially, the EC said it required Mr Nadda and Mr Kharge to ensure BJP and Congress star campaigners must follow its guidelines on "a higher quality of discourse".

Speaking in Morena, the PM alleged the Congress wanted to re-impose the inheritance tax abolished by Rajiv Gandhi. Mr Modi said the former Prime Minister did so to save the majority of the wealth of his mother, ex-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, from going to the government. "After benefitting from it... the Congress now wants to impose it on the people of the country", he claimed.

READ | "Have Not Said...": Rahul On "Wealth Redistribution" Row, PM's Jabs

"If the Congress comes to power... it will snatch over half of your earnings via inheritance tax," he continued, taking a swing at senior Congress leader Sam Pitroda. "An adviser to the opposition party's 'shehzada' ('prince', a standard jibe at Mr Gandhi) has suggested imposition of inheritance tax..."

NDTV FACT CHECK | Has Congress Really Promised 'Wealth Redistribution'?

"The wealth you got by working hard and enduring hardships will be looted from you if a Congress-led government is formed... (but) as long as BJP is there, it will not allow such designs. Modi is a wall between you and the Congress' plan to loot you," the Prime Minister thundered.

He claimed also that the Congress wants to "confiscate people's jewellery and small-savings by conducting an X-ray of their properties and valuables". The reference was to a comment by Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday, when he said the Congress, if elected, would conduct a national caste survey, which will include an economic report, to "find out how much injustice was done".

The comments echoed those he made first in Rajasthan's Banswara - which triggered the Congress' complaint - when he declared his rivals would "not even leave your 'mangalsutra'..."

READ | Row After PM Says "Congress To Distribute Assets To Infiltrators"

"Congress manifesto says they will calculate gold with mothers and sisters... and then distribute... Manmohan Singh's government had said Muslims have first right on the country's assets... it will be distributed to those who have more children... it will be distributed to the infiltrators..." he claimed.

In his Morena speech the Prime Minister also referred, again, to the Congress' manifesto as being "influenced" by the Muslim League. Earlier he had called it a "Muslim League imprint", drawing a fierce retort from the Congress, for whom Mr Kharge said, "They themselves were with the Muslim League. Their ideologue formed a government with the Muslim League in Bengal..."

READ | "Its Best Friend...": Kharge On BJP's "Muslim League Imprint" Jab

Mr Modi's remarks provoked a furious response from the Congress, which accused the Prime Minister of lying to divert voters' attention from genuine issues. Rahul Gandhi posted on X that Mr Modi had been left worried by reports of a poor showing in the first phase.

The opposition party promptly approached the Election Commission "to highlight completely unprecedented and malicious allegations... clearly aimed at creating enmity between groups".

READ | "Must Act": Congress To Poll Panel On PM's "Wealth To Infiltrators" Jab

The BJP had also filed a complaint against the Congress, alleging that Rahul Gandhi's speeches in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore and Kerala's Kottayam, in which he spoke about the 'one nation, one election' idea and referred to the linguistic row between the southern states and the saffron party.

In its complaint to the EC, the BJP slammed Mr Gandhi as a "habitual offender" and also accused Mr Kharge of "grossly misleading voters by declaring the BJP is going to change the Constitution..."

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