The Congress on Thursday accused the Election Commission of acting under the government’s pressure as it denied permission to the party to circulate six campaign videos, including one about the Rafale jet deal, PTI reported. The party has sought a review of the decision.
“Six of our election advertisements were rejected by the EC on different grounds,” said Madhya Pradesh Congress media cell chief Shobha Oza. “There was nothing objectionable in these campaign teasers and it looks like there is Centre’s pressure on the EC.”
The Election Commission said it objected to the videos as one of them featured a disabled person while another showed an injection syringe filled with a tri-coloured liquid. The video on the Rafale deal was denied permission because the matter is sub-judice.
Oza, however, claimed that since the advertisement was satirical it would not have interfered with the matter before the Supreme Court.
The Rafale scam pertains to allegations from some journalists, the Opposition, former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and lawyer Prashant Bhushan about alleged irregularities in the India-France deal for procurement of Rafale aircraft. The Congress has accused the government of overpaying for the fighter aircraft and claimed that the deal has benefited Anil Ambani, whose company Reliance Defence was chosen to fulfill the offset obligations in the deal. N Ram and The Hindu have also published several pieces that, among other things, question the pricing of the aircraft and point to alleged interference by the Prime Minister’s Office in the negotiations.
The Supreme Court in December dismissed a clutch of public interest litigations, including a petition submitted by seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the Rafale deal. The court had said there was “no occasion to doubt the Centre’s decision-making process in the deal”. A review plea was filed against the order, which the Supreme Court is expected to decide on soon.