Bhopal: The Election Commission (EC) on Thursday banned the Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee’s audio and video poll campaign which uses the phrase “chowkidar chor hai” following objections from the BJP.
State chief electoral officer (CEO) B.L. Kanta Rao issued instructions to all the district collectors in the state to prohibit the Congress from running the “chowkidar chor hai” campaign in their respective areas during the electioneering by the party as the EC’s media certification and scrutiny committee decided to revoke the permission granted to it on April 5.
The BJP had complained to the poll authorities that the campaign used objectionable language against “chowkidar”, which referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
State Congress’ media cell chairperson Shobha Oza told a news agency that her party would seek a review of the order.
“The EC gave approval to this campaign and later withdrew the permission which is unfortunate. Our delegation will meet EC officials Thursday evening,” she said.
There was nothing objectionable in the campaign as it did not mention any person, she said, claiming that no reasons were given by the EC while revoking the order. The four phase elections in Madhya Pradesh is scheduled to be held from April 29 to May 19.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been using the phrase “chowkidar chor hai” (the watchman is thief) to target Mr Modi over the Rafale fighter aircraft deal. Mr Modi, earlier, had termed himself as nation’s “chowkidar” or watchman.
The BJP’s complaint also stated that the Supreme Court is hearing a petition against Gandhi in this regard.
BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi last week filed a criminal contempt petition in the apex court against Gandhi for using the phrase “chowkidar chor hai” against Mr Modi, pleading that he misinterpreted the SC’s recent order on the Rafale row. The court asked Gandhi to give an explanation by April 22.
State BJP vice-president Vijesh Lunawat said that Gandhi was using “abusive” words against the Prime Minister.
“He was incorrectly citing the SC verdict while levelling this allegation (`chowkidar chor hai’). We told the EC that the Supreme Court had not said anything of this kind,” he said....