The Himachal Pradesh Police on Tuesday registered a first information report against the Bharatiya Janata Party’s state unit president Satpal Singh Satti for making allegedly derogatory comments about Congress President Rahul Gandhi, PTI reported.
State Chief Electoral Officer Devesh Kumar said Satti has been issued a notice for violation of the Model Code of Conduct by the district election officer of Solan, and asked to reply within 24 hours. The Election Commission of India has been informed about the action taken in the matter on the basis of the Solan officer’s reports, Kumar added.
Congress workers burned Satti’s effigies across Solan district on Tuesday. But the Solan election office and the local police are also examining a complaint by the BJP that a Congress supporter, Vinay Sharma, has offered Rs 10 lakh to anyone who cuts off Satti’s tongue.
Satti had on Monday defended his alleged derogatory comments about Rahul Gandhi. He claimed that he was merely reading from another person’s Facebook post, The Indian Express reported. The Congress said it has informed the Election Commission about Satti’s comments and even lodged a police complaint against the BJP.
On Sunday, Satti had criticised Gandhi for using the phrase “chowkidar chor hai” (watchman is a thief) while referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The BJP leader was addressing party workers in the state’s Solan district. “Rahul Gandhi’s mother is out on bail,” Satti is heard saying in a video clip of his speech. “He is out on bail. His brother-in-law is [Robert Vadra] out on bail. But no case has been filed against Modi, nor is he out on bail, nor did any judge give him a punishment. Who is Rahul Gandhi to call Modi a thief, like a judge?”
Satti then went on to claim that there are people angrier with the Congress than BJP members themselves. “A man from Punjab has written something against Rahul Gandhi,” Satti is heard saying. “BJP spokesperson Randhir Sharma cannot read it since we cannot use derogatory language against a national leader and three-time MP. After I insisted, Randhir Sharma asked me to read the Facebook post in public.”
The Congress, in a statement, referred to the comments as highly defamatory, against women’s dignity and in violation of the Election Commission’s guidelines.
Satti, however, refused to apologise. “I did not say anything against him [Rahul Gandhi],” the BJP leader told The Indian Express. “I only read out a social media post. Instead, Rahul Gandhi should apologise to our party for calling Modiji chor.”
The BJP state president claimed that he had in fact warned his party workers against using derogatory language while referring to rival political leaders. “The video that is going viral on social media is only a part of my entire speech,” he said. “The Congress must present the full video where I have used the example of Rahul Gandhi to tell our workers to not use derogatory language against any political figure on social media.”