The Congress’ Tamil Nadu unit has moved the Madras High Court seeking that the Election Commission be directed to act against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for propagating hate speech, reported Bar and Bench on Wednesday.

The petition was filed by Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President K Selvaperunthagai.

Selvaperunthagai’s petition said that although several complaints were registered against the prime minister with the Election Commission, the poll panel had so far only issued one notice to the Bharatiya Janata Party for violation of poll conduct rules.

“Mr Modi is solely responsible for these inflammatory remarks, derogative and divisive speeches,” read the plea. “This leniency of the ECI [Election Commission of India] sends a wrong signal to the citizens and undermines the integrity of our nation’s whole electoral process.”

The plea said that Modi had made unsavoury remarks against the Muslim community in several election rallies since April 21, when the prime minister had called Muslims “infiltrators” and referred to them as “those who have more children” during a rally in Rajasthan. Modi had claimed that the Congress would redistribute private wealth among Muslims.

There is no factual basis for this insinuation. The Modi government has repeatedly told Parliament that it has no data on undocumented migrants. Besides, the fertility rate of Indian Muslims, although higher than Hindus, is declining faster than that of all other communities.

In addition, the Congress manifesto does not contain any reference to private property being confiscated or the introduction of an inheritance tax. It states: “We will address the growing inequality of wealth and income through suitable changes in policies.”

Selvaperunthagai said in his petition: “Mr Modi’s derogatory remarks about specific communities such as Muslims, including his recent comments regarding the mangalsutra and birth rates among Muslims, are not only disrespectful but also shameful and treacherous as they fuel communal tensions and sow division among our people.”

He also said that the BJP was “indulging in a divisive campaign along communal lines” and making misleading and derogatory remarks about the Congress party’s manifesto, reported Bar and Bench.

The Congress leader said that he had approached the chief electoral officer’s office in Chennai on May 1 for immediate and decisive action against Modi’s “communal rhetoric”. However, he did not receive any response.

The prime minister and other BJP leaders have made repeated claims about the Congress’ plans to introduce an inheritance tax and religion-based reservations if it comes to power in the Lok Sabha election. The Congress manifesto, however, does not make any such promises.

The manifesto states: “We will ensure that the minorities receive their fair share of opportunities in education, healthcare, public employment, public works contracts, skill development, sports and cultural activities without discrimination.”

On April 25, Congress president Mallikarjun kharge had written to the prime minister saying that he was being misinformed by his advisors about the contents of the Congress’ manifesto.

Also read: Fact-checking five days of Narendra Modi’s speeches: A catalogue of lies