The Election Commission on Monday directed the Congress to provide a clarification on a tweet that quoted party leader Sonia Gandhi as saying that the party would “not allow anyone to pose a threat to Karnataka’s reputation, sovereignty or integrity”.
The Congress had posted the tweet on May 6 after the party’s rally at Hubbali in Karnataka. However, according to an unidentified Congress official, someone from the social media team of the party had misinterpreted Gandhi’s speech and she had never used the word sovereignty while addressing the rally, reported The Hindu.
Nevertheless, the Bharatiya Janata Party filed a complaint with the Election Commission on Monday demanding immediate and firm action against Gandhi. It also demanded that the poll panel should consider de-recognising the party.
“Karnataka is a very important member state in the Union of India and any call to protect the sovereignty of a member state of the Union of India amounts to a call for secession and is fraught with perilous and pernicious consequences,” the saffron party said.
The poll body, in the notice to the Congress, quoted the complaint as saying that the tweet violates provisions of the Representation of the People Act. “You are requested to clarify and take rectification measures in respect of the social media post which has been put up on the INC Twitter handle and attributed to Chairperson CPP [Congress Parliamentary Party].”
On Monday, Congress had also 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.
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. The Congress was issued a notice in this regard on Saturday after the BJP had filed a complaint. It said that prima facie, it appeared that the Congress had violated the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct.
The Congress had said that this might be the first time that the election commission has summoned a national party to provide evidence in support of a political advertisement.