The Election Commission on Tuesday told social media platform X to take down a Bharatiya Janata Party campaign video on grounds that it violated the “extant legal framework”, The Indian Express reported.

The legal framework refers to the Information Technology Act and the Information Technology Rules, 2021, that govern online conduct in the country.

However, the poll regulator’s notice to X came after campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections in the state had ended, and mid-way through voting for the state’s 28 seats. Voting for 14 seats in Karnataka took place on April 26 while the remaining seats went to the polls on Tuesday.

On Sunday, the Karnataka Police had issued notice to X, asking it to take down the video for violating the Model Code of Conduct, reported the Hindustan Times. The Model Code of Conduct is a set of rules issued by the Election Commission that all political parties, candidates and governments are mandated to follow in the run-up to an election.

The police notice to X, on Sunday, was issued at the behest of the state Election Commission via Karnataka’s chief electoral officer. The campaigning for the 14 Lok Sabha constituencies in the southern state concluded on Tuesday.

On May 4, the BJP’s Karnataka social media handle had posted the animated video featuring caricatures of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah placing an egg with “Muslims” written on it in a nest, alongside three other eggs marked as “SC [Scheduled Castes], ST [Scheduled Tribes] and OBC [Other Backward Classes]”.

The video showed Gandhi feeding “funds” to a bird, shown wearing a skullcap, as it hatches out of the “Muslim” egg. The video shows the “Muslim” bird pushing away the fledglings that hatch from the other three eggs, followed by the sound of laughter.

“Your attention is drawn towards the e-mail communication of Election Commission [dated May 5, 2024],” the police notice to X said. “Election Commission has directed to remove the alleged content from internet as it violates Model Code of Conduct enforced during Lok Sabha Elections 2024.”

The notice added that the video also violated the Representation of People Act.

On May 5, the Karnataka chief electoral officer had asked the Election Commission to instruct X to take down the post, Joint Chief Electoral Officer Survasen AV said, according to the Hindustan Times.

The chief electoral officer also referred the matter to the superintendent of police, cyber crime division, Bengaluru, which is the nodal office for the removal of Unlawful Content under the Information Technology Rules, 2021.

“We sent it to the Election Commission as well [as the police],” Survasen said. “We don’t talk to X directly. As per our handbook, we cannot talk to the social media platforms directly.”

The Karnataka Police has also registered a first information report against Bharatiya Janata Party President JP Nadda, the party’s information technology cell chief Amit Malviya and its Karnataka unit chief BY Vijayendra in connection with a social media post that sparked outrage online, with critics attacking it for “demonising Muslims”.