The Congress on Monday accused the Election Commission of being biased after the poll body issued a notice to its Karnataka unit in connection with the “corruption rate card” advertisements published in newspapers, PTI reported.
The advertisements alleged that under the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in the state, there were fixed rates of bribes that people needed to pay for job appointments and transfers.
On Saturday, the poll panel issued the notice to the Congress in response to a complaint by the BJP. It said that prima facie, it appeared that the Congress had violated the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct.
The Election Commission had asked the Congress to show empirical evidence of the alleged corruption rates by 7 pm on Sunday.
On Monday, the Congress alleged that it brought many “brazen and repeated” violations of electoral guidelines by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders to the notice of the Election Commission, but no notice or condemnation was issued by the poll body, reported PTI.
“...it is clear that the Indian National Congress is being subject to unfair and unequal treatment by the Commission, ” the party said. “Leaders of the INC are held to a standard that seems to be reserved only for the opposition. They are asked to explain themselves for the slightest perceived offence and their advertisements are flagged for content that is far tamer than the ones allowed for the BJP.”
The Congress said this might be the first time that the poll body has summoned a national party to provide evidence in support of a political advertisement.
“The Election Commission, with its vast powers of superintendence, could have chosen to investigate the allegations, evidence of which is available in the public domain but instead it has chosen to go after the party that is shedding light on the rampant corruption plaguing the people of the state,” it said.