- Congress asks top court to direct poll body to act on complaint
- Congress alleged PM Modi, Amit Shah violated election code
- Supreme Court will hear Congress's plea on Tuesday
The Election Commission is not taking action on poll code violations by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, the Congress told the Supreme Court in a petition asking for directions to the poll body to decide on such complaints within 24 hours.
Congress parliamentarian Sushmita Dev said the Election Commission had not acted on the party's complaints against PM Modi and Amit Shah for three weeks.
A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said it will hear the Congress's plea on Tuesday.
In her petition, Ms Dev said PM Modi and Mr Shah used "hate speech" at rallies to polarise voters, and referred to the operations by the armed forces in their "political propaganda" despite the poll body's ban.
The Congress said PM Modi violated the model code with a speech at a rally in Gujarat on April 23, after he cast his vote and held a roadshow-type event.
The Election Commission had last month categorically told political parties to "desist" from referring to the military in their poll campaigns in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack and the Balakot air strikes earlier this year.
The Congress has alleged that despite such clear instructions, PM Modi and Amit Shah repeatedly cited military operations undertaken by the armed forces under the BJP rule at election rallies.
PM Modi claimed at a campaign rally in Gujarat's Surendranagar district on April 17 that his government had called Pakistan's bluff after the Pulwama terror attack, which resulted in the death of 40 CRPF personnel on the Jammu-Srinagar highway on February 14. "Earlier terrorists from Pakistan would carry out attacks in our country and go back unscathed, threatening to launch their nuclear bombs if we retaliate. But we have the nuclear bomb of nuclear bombs. I told them to do what they want (but we will retaliate)," the Prime Minister said.
Amit Shah claimed at a public meeting in Bihar's Sitamarhi on Sunday that the Modi government had secured the country's borders and made national security its main priority. "India is only the third country after Israel and United States to have retaliated to terrorism in this brave manner," he said.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also triggered a controversy earlier this month by referring to the Indian Army as "Modiji ki sena (PM Modi's army)" - an assertion that was denounced by opposition parties as well as Army veterans.
The Congress alleges that its complaints to the Election Commission on repeated claims of the kind by PM Modi and Amit Shah have been met with a less-than-lukewarm response.
Election Commission sources told NDTV last week that they would act soon on complaints about the PM referencing the air strikes during his rallies to showcase his party BJP's "national security" plank as it seeks reelection in the national election.
A controversy had broken out last week after a complaint alleging poll code violation by PM Modi at a rally in Maharashtra's Latur appeared to be "missing" from the Election Commission's website. The complaint was filed by a Kolkata-based individual, Mahendra Singh after the PM urged voters at a rally in Maharashtra's Latur, to dedicate their votes to the "Pulwama martyrs" and the soldiers who carried out the Balakot strike. The Election Commission then sought an explanation along with the speech transcript from the Maharashtra Chief Electoral Officer.