Ahmedabad: The Election Commission has ordered a police complaint or FIR (First Information Report), against Narendra Modi for flashing his party symbol and making a speech at the polling booth in Ahmedabad where he voted this morning.
“It is evident from Modi’s tone and tenor that he made a political speech. He intended, calculated to influence voting today. Modi intended to affect the results of polling today across India,” the Election Commission said in its notice.
Mr Modi, the BJP‘s prime ministerial candidate, had flashed his party’s ‘lotus’ symbol while voting and later tweeted a selfie of his ink-stained finger. (Narendra Modi takes a selfie after voting in Ahmedabad)
“After analysing the election process and the voter’s mind until now, I can say that this time nothing can save the mother-son government… a strong government will come to power,” he said to a cheering crowd outside, promising the defeat of the incumbent Congress which is led by Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.
The law bans candidates from canvassing within 100 metres of a polling area.
(India Votes 2014: Full coverage)
In response, BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said, “It was not an organised press conference. We respect the Election Commission. Mr Modi has not violated the code of conduct.”
Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed called Mr Modi a “serial offender”. The party had earlier objected to the release of the BJP manifesto on April 7, the first day of voting for the nine-phase national election.
(Complaints about Narendra Modi’s Varanasi road-show are sour grapes, says BJP)
Arvind Kejriwal‘s Aam Aadmi Party also pointed to Mr Modi being seen with a prominent lotus, his party’s symbol. The party’s Ashutosh tweeted soon after Mr Modi voted, “BJP released manifesto on polling day. Modi did road show on other polling day and now PC (press conference) with party symbol today. will EC react? (sic)”
Mr Modi’s supporters have argued that voters cannot be asked to hide their hands, which is the Congress’ symbol.