Returning Officer (RO), South Delhi district, Nidhi Srivastava on Saturday issued a show cause notice to the JNU unit of the ABVP for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by organizing a book launch on campus without permission, The Indian Express has reported.
The ABVP had planned to launch #ModiAgain by author Aabhas Maldahiyar and Saffron Swords by Manoshi Sinha Rawal on 15th April. The event has now been cancelled. Earlier, the Election Commission had stalled the release of PM Narendra Modi, a biopic on the Prime Minister featuring Vivek Oberoi in the lead, claiming it was a threat to a ‘level playing field’ and ‘free and fair elections’.
The same Election Commission had served a show cause notice to officials for banning the release of a book on the Rafale Deal for violation of the MCC. However, the ban was subsequently revoked and the book was released.
Meanwhile, according to the organizers, the cancellation had nothing to do with the show cause notice. Durgesh Kumar and Manish Jangid, President and General Secretary of the JNU Unit of ABVP respectively, told The Indian Express that they cancelled the event on April 12 because the authors were unavailable.
Kumar said, “We wrote to them saying it had been cancelled and that we were not aware it’s a violation.” He added, “It was an academic discussion… It wasn’t a political discussion; no leaders were called.”
Srivastava, however, said that the programme was a violation of MCC since it seemed to be advertising a particular political leader and that permission for the event had not been sought.
While the EC is busy serving show-cause notices for book launch events and stalling the release of movies, rampant polling malpractice and violence was reported in West Bengal during the first phase of the elections. The constitutional body was criticized by many for failing to secure a conducive environment for polling to occur.
A Bangladeshi actor, too, was seen recently campaigning for Trinamool. While the BJP has alleged an MCC violation and a foreign citizen actively campaigning for Trinamool on the ground does not appear entirely legal, the Election Commission continues to maintain a stoic silence on the matter.