Congress has faced a major setback in its Madhya Pradesh’s election campaign amidst the ongoing Lok Sabha polls, as the EC has put a ban on Congress’ advertisements titled ‘chowkidar chor hai’ in the state and issued orders to end the broadcast of the same with immediate effect. Puncturing Congress’ year-long rhetorics, the EC urged the party to submit all the material related to the campaign to the poll panel.
#ElectionBreaking – @INCIndia’s ‘chowkidar chor hai’ campaign banned in Madhya Pradesh. Election Commission whip on Congress’ anti-@narendramodi campaign. MP poll officer bans Congress’ campaign. #ElectionsWithNews18 #BattleOf2019 | @ManojSharmaBpl with more details pic.twitter.com/dBOZ2ERpAN
— News18 (@CNNnews18) April 18, 2019
Taking cognisance of an appeal made by BJP’s Shantilal Lodha, the State Election Commission of Madhya Pradesh in its order dated April 17 2019, stated that the Congress’ advertisement campaign is highly derogatory and defamatory. It also says that since the campaign did not obtain a clearance from the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee before its release, the advertisement has been banned.
The decision has come after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) objected to the campaign citing it maligns the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Earlier, the BJP leader from Madhya Pradesh had raised objections to the advertisement claiming that the language used in it is shameful and defamatory. He said that PM Modi is renowned as ‘Chowkidar’ in the country and calling him a ‘Chor’ maligns his image.
When the state election commission ordered the Congress to file a response, the party blatantly denied that the chowkidar reference was directed at Narendra Modi but failed to explain who it is actually referring to in the advertisement.
Taking cognisance of the matter, Madhya Pradesh’s Chief Electoral Officer VL Kantha Rao then ordered a ban on the advertisement with immediate effect. The Congress Madhya Pradesh unit has also been asked to submit all the material related to their ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ ad. The order also took note of the notice issued to Rahul Gandhi by the Supreme Court for inventing facts on its verdict on Rafale.
Rahul Gandhi had distorted the SC order while talking to the media, and said that Supreme Court has accepted that there is some form of corruption in Rafale deal and that “chowkidaar ne chori karwayi hai”. The Supreme Court observed that it had on “no occasion” made any comments as attributed by Gandhi and that the judgment was solely on the legal question of admissibility of documents produced by review petitioners. The top court has asked Rahul Gandhi to reply by April 22.
Meanwhile, a BJP delegation comprising Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Hardeep Singh Puri among others had also met Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Tuesday with a complaint and demanded action against Gandhi for repeatedly using the term ‘chowkidar chor hai’ and making false attributions to the Supreme Court.
The delegation urged the Commission to ban Congress president Rahul Gandhi from campaigning in the Lok Sabha polls and impose the “heaviest penalty” on him, saying he levelled false allegations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale aircraft deal.