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Assam: Congress lodges complaint with police and EC against BJP, local newspapers for ‘misleading’ ads predicting BJP’s win

Congress has demanded that the circulation of these said news items/advertisement be stopped for publication in all forms of electronic media, social media, etc.

The Congress Party’s do or die battle for existence is underway in Assam and the party is trying its hardest to keep BJP at bay. In a recent development, Congress has filed a police complaint against Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, BJP chief JP Nadda, state president Ranjeet Kumar Dass and eight leading local newspapers for ‘camouflaging an advertisement as news’, predicting BJP’s win in all the seats in Upper Assam that went to polls in the first phase on March 27.

The FIR was lodged with the Dispur police on Sunday night for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), provisions of Section 126A of the Representation of People Act, 1951 and the ECI’s directives issued on March 26, APCC Legal Department Chairman Niran Borah said.

The party alleged that this was BJP’s pre-planned conspiracy to deceive voters in the second and third phases of polls. “The CM, BJP national president, state chief and other members of the party have knowingly issued advertisements camouflaged as headlines on front pages of various newspapers claiming that the BJP will win all the constituencies of Upper Assam,” Borah claimed.

Congress approaches EC with a complaint against BJP and local newspapers

Moreover, Congress has also approached the Election Commission demanding action against BJP for using local dailies to mislead and brainwash voters. It alleged that BJP carried a misleading advertisement in multiple dailies, suggesting its victory in these constituencies.

In a letter to the Assam chief electoral officer Nitin Khade, Niran Borah, who is the chairman of the Congress’ legal department alleged: “… The advertisement has been published in the form of a news report for canvassing in favour of BJP to influence and deceive the public/voters for the remaining two phases of polls across the state.”

Congress has demanded strict action against the saffron party, as well as the 8 locals newspapers in question. It demanded that the circulation of these said news items/advertisement be stopped for publication in all forms of electronic media, social media, etc. This it said was important for holding a free and fair election in the state.

The state BJP’s chief spokesperson, Rupam Goswami, said the advertisement merely reflected the party’s confidence, based on ground reports. “Why is Congress so worried? All ads are passed after approval from poll panel officials entrusted with vetting advertisements,” Goswami said.

Traditionally a Congress stronghold, BJP came to power for the first time in Assam with a thumping mandate in the year 2016. BJP’s overwhelming success in the last Assembly elections left the Congress party reeling in shock. Now, with the 2021 Assembly elections underway, the desperate Congress is leaving no stone unturned to break its anti-incumbency jinx.

The Assam Assembly elections 2021 is being held in three phases, from March 27 to April 6. The  first phase of Assam election concluded on March 27, 2021, with 72.14 per cent turnout. The counting of votes for the Assam assembly election will be done on May 2 2021 (Sunday).

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