ECI Halts BJP\'s Rath Yatra in Poll Bound States

Update: 2023-10-27 10:45 GMT

New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday punctured the Centre’s plan to carry out the government's 'Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra’ across the country with the bureaucrats acting as “Rath Prabharis” disseminating information about the government’s work. The ECI in its order to the Union Cabinet Secretariat said the Yatra cannot take place in the five states that are all set to go for assembly polls shortly and where the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is already in place.

In its letter to the Cabinet Secretary, the ECI said it has come to its notice that a letter has been circulating to the ministries for nomination of senior officers as “District Rath Prabharis” as special officers for the proposed Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra’ starting from November 20. The ECI pointed out that it has already announced election schedules and the MCC has come into effect in five states -- Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Telangana – and in Nagaland where a bye- election in Tapi is due.

“In view of the foregoing the Commission has directed that the aforesaid activities should not take place in constituencies where MCC is in place till December 5.”

The ECI action came a day after a Congress delegation lodged a complaint with the CEC against the Centre’s orders “directing Civil Servants and Indian Army soldiers to promote achievements of BJP-led Union Government,” saying these acts of politicising the conduct of Civil Servants and Army soldiers violates the MCC and the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964.

The Congress has also filed a complaint against Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for his speech in Kawardha on October 18 in which he while campaigning against the Congress candidate, Mohd Akbar, claimed that, “If one Akbar comes to some place, he calls 100 Akbars. So, send him off as soon as possible, otherwise the land of Mata Kaushalya will get defiled.”

Based on the Congress complaint, the ECI issued a show cause notice to Sarma. The ECI said this part of his speech has been found to be prima facie violative of the MCC and the RP Act 1951. The ECI has asked Sarma to file his response by October 30 and if there is no response then the ECI will act accordingly.

Similar show cause notice has also been issued to Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for her utterances against the Prime Minister in rallies during campaigns. She too has been given time till October 30 to reply.


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