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EC notice to Sonia, Digvijay
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 9
The Election Commission today issued notices to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, party general secretary Digvijay Singh and BJP MP Vijay Kumar Malhotra for violating the provisions of the model code of conduct during their election campaign in Gujarat.

The commission has asked the three political leaders to submit their replies “latest by noon on December 11” to enable it consider further action in the matter.

In doing so, the EC has sent out a stern warning to political leaders of the ruling party as well as the Opposition to bear in mind the model code of conduct and be cautious in their choice of words. Sources in the EC said the notices had been issued to convey to all political parties and the masses that the commission was not working in a partial manner.

In its notice to Sonia Gandhi, the EC said it had taken cognisance of her December 1 speech in Jamanapada, Chikli (Navsari), where she called those running the Gujarat government “liars, betrayers and merchants of fear and death”.

The EC enclosed in its notice a CD (compact disc) of her speech along with the copies of the two complaints made by Jayantilal S. Barot, general secreatry of the Gujarat unit of the BJP.

The commission said after viewing the video recording of Gandhi’s speech, it is “prima facie of the view that the statements made in the speech ‘those running the Gujarat government are liars, betrayers and merchants of fear and death,’ amounts to the violation of provisions of the model code of conduct.”

In its notice to BJP deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, the commission said its notice was drawn to a news report published in The Tribune on December 7. The report quoted Malhotra as saying, “She (Sonia Gandhi) has hatred for Hindus. She speaks against Hindus and chooses to remain silent when atrocities are committed against the community.”

The commission’s notice to Digvijay Singh has also been issued on a complaint made by Jayantilal Barot about his statement statement on Hindu terrorism in ‘Gujarat Vaibhav’ on December 3.

The EC has reminded the leaders that the model code of conduct came into force from October 10.

It has drawn the attention of the leaders to the Para 1 of the model code of conduct, which prohibits parties or candidates from indulging in any activity that may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic.

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