Monday, April 11, 2016

FIR against Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi for poll code violation - Whatever happened to the FIRs against Narendra Modi in 2014 for the same violation?

Dear fellow citizens - in today's news - April 11, 2016, we learn that an FIR has been lodged by the Election Commission against the Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi for poll code violation. I'm sure the EC is justified in exercising vigilance and is doing its duty. In May 2014, the same official had said this about Narendra Modi:

On accusations on being biased against Modi, Sampat explained that Modi had organised press conference in Vadodara where election was taking places. See this news item:

It is ironic all this is happening in Assam. Because in the matter of irresponsible speech, Narendra Modi leads the fray because of his high visibility and status. In a speech on March 31, 2014, Modi had alleged that Assam’s government was deliberately killing rhinoceri to make space for Bangladeshis. Has his government produced any evidence of this fantastic claim since he came to power? Before this, he had alleged that his leading opponents were helping Pakistan. Modi then made some nasty statements on the FIR against him ordered by the Election Commission. He was quoted as saying: ‘One can understand if someone points a knife, a pistol or a gun. But do you know why FIR was registered against me? Because I showed a lotus to the people.’ This statement was both false and mindless. And it suggested that the EC was being malicious:
Narendra Modi intended to influence voters, says furious Election Commission // EC orders police complaint against Modi for holding press conference after voting

The EC said that Modi intended to influence voters in violation of the code of conduct: 
"it was evident that the said address was in the nature of political speech intended & calculated to influence & affect the result of elections in the constituencies going to polls today, not only in Ahmadabad but also in all other constituencies in the State of Gujarat & elsewhere in the country." By holding that meeting, "Narendra Modi has violated the provisions of Sections 126 (1) (a) and 126 (l) (b) of R.P. Act 1951." "Therefore, the Commission directs... that complaint/ FIR as the case may be, should be filed against Narendra Modi and all others who were involved in the convening and holding of the said meeting...," the EC order said. It has asked the Gujarat Chief Secretary and DGP to send a compliance report by 6 PM today. It also said that all theTV channels & other electronic media which carried the proceedings of the meeting & displayed the election matter should also be proceeded against under Section 126 (l) (b) "by filing separate complaints/FlRs against those channels." The EC took the decision after going through the video recording of the address of the BJP's Prime Ministerial pick at a meeting in Gandhinagar after he cast his vote today. 
Read the entire notice->EC notice to Narendra Modi

Relevant section of the R.P. Act 1951: <click to read its contents
6[126. Prohibition of public meetings during period of forty—eight hours ending with hour fixed for conclusion of poll.— (1) No person shall— (a) convene, hold or attend, join or address any public meeting or procession in connection with an election; or (b) display to the public any election matter by means of cinematograph, television or other similar apparatus; or (c) propagate any election matter to the public by holding, or by arranging the holding of, any musical concert or any theatrical performance or any other entertainment or amusement with a view to attracting the members of the public thereto, in any polling area during the period of forty-eight hours ending with the fixed for the conclusion of the poll for any election in the polling area. (2) Any person who contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both. (3) In this section, the expression "election matter" means any matter intended or calculated to influence or affect the result of an election.].

NB (this is what I wrote in my post of April 30, 2014):  Section 126 of the R.P. Act prohibits public meetings 48 hours before the poll. No-one may hold or address any election-related meeting; or display any election matter; or propagate any election matter by any performance intended to attract public attention for any election in the polling area, during the 48 hours up to the end of the poll. By flaunting his election symbol for TV cameras, Modi violated Section 126. For him to say an FIR only makes sense if he were caught brandishing weapons, or for BJP to say there ‘was no formal meeting’, is making fun of the law. The question of whether or not this was a formal meeting is irrelevant, because the scene was telecast to the whole country and is an irreversible act affecting the fairness of the election. Anyone can see that it is not a matter of being within 100 or 200 metres of a polling booth (which is what the Modi camp is saying). All those who are dismissing this grave violation as a pro-Congress conspiracy by the EC or are making light of it are displaying their contempt of the constitution. State officials are not servants of government, but servants of the Indian constitution. They should not be intimidated by intimidatory behaviour of the Modi camp and perform their duties without fear or favour. DS

On May 5, 2014, Modi dared the CEC:
Mr Modi had earlier been pulled up by the EC for taking a selfie with the BJP's election symbol, a lotus, and then addressing the media after casting his vote at the polling booth in Ahmedabad on April 30. (Modi takes a selfie after voting in Ahmedabad)

"It is evident from Modi's tone and tenor that he made a political speech. He intended, calculated to influence voting today," the Election Commission had said, adding that the BJP leader had broken the law by campaigning in a polling area. 
A FIR was subsequently registered against Mr Modi and the television channels which had covered the event. 
Election Commission's notice against Narendra Modi

Reacting to the EC's action against him, Mr Modi had caustically observed, "In my entire life, not even a single FIR has been registered against me, not even for driving a scooter on the wrong side or for wrong parking. I will never forget April 30." 

For the relentless lies, censorship, propaganda and outright contempt for democratic norms displayed by the BJP during electioneering in 2014, see these posts: 
'सत्यमेव जयते लेकिन सवालिया निशान के साथ' / Satyamev jayate? Does truth always triumph?

What happened to the cases against Modi? Do we not take pride in the justice system that unseated Indira Gandhi in 1975 for violating electoral norms? Does anyone think that the cases against Modi will likewise be taken to their conclusion? Meanwhile let us see how the ruling party reacts to the EC's FIR against Gogoi. What is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander. Or is it anti-national to ask for symmetry in the application of law? DS