Prime Minister Narendra Modi's claim that 40 lawmakers of Trinamool Congress are in touch with him and will join the BJP, is "horse-trading" and his nomination should be cancelled, Mamata Banerjee's party has told the Election Commission. The complaint is the latest among several made to the Commission for alleged violations of the Model Code of Conduct by the Prime Minister. The Commission said it would take a call on the pending complaints today, amid accusations of tardiness and an appeal to the Supreme Court for prompt decision.
Yesterday, addressing a rally in Serampore -- a town less than 30 km from Kolkata -- the Prime Minister said: "Didi, on 23 May, the day of results, the lotus will bloom everywhere and your MLAs will leave you and run. Even today, Didi, 40 of your MLAs are in contact with me".
Party lawmaker Derek O'Brien immediately accused the Prime Minister of "horse trading".
"Expiry Babu PM , let's get this straight. Nobody will go with you. Not even one councillor. Are you election campaigning or horse trading! Your expiry date is near. Today, we are complaining to the Election Commission. Charging you with horse trading," his tweet read.
In its letter to the commission today, the Trinamool called for "strong action" for the "unfounded, inappropriate and illegal" campaign and utterances of the Prime Minister. PM Modi, it said, was trying to influence voters to vote for the BJP by creating an impression that many lawmakers of the Trinamool are in touch with him and will cross over to his party.
The party also accused the BJP of running a "appalling" campaign that has shown no regard or respect for the Model Code or the guidelines issued by the Commission.
"Initially, the leaders of BJP tried to seek votes by appealing to the people in the name of the martyrs of the Pulwama attacks. The leaders even attempted to dissuade the electors against other parties by using the same propaganda.
"Thereafter, they tried to use religion to persuade the voters. Now, they are hinting at horse trading and how the opposition parties are making arrangements with BJP for the 2019 General Elections," the party alleged in the letter.