Ahmedabad: Narendra Modi today set off a controversy when he openly sought votes for BJP while holding aloft his party's 'Lotus' symbol immediately after casting his ballot, with Congress moving the Election Commission accusing him of model code violation.
Narendra Modi clicks a selfie after casting his vote in Gandhinagar. Pic: AFP
Acting swiftly on the complaint, the poll body sought a report from the returning officer.
Though it is a normal practice for top leaders to make brief statements to the media after casting their votes, what irked Modi's rivals was a full-fledged press conference that the Gujarat chief Minister held during which he not only fervently asked the electorate to vote for BJP but also launched a tirade against Congress.
Narendra Modi waves to his supporters after casting his vote in Ghandhinagar. Pic: AFP
The tech-savvy BJP's prime ministerial hopeful was also seen happily clicking selfies while prominently displaying the party symbol.
AICC legal department secretary K C Mittal promptly filed a complaint to the EC, saying Modi's speech and display of symbol was in violation of section 126 of Representation of People Act (RPA) and demanded an FIR be registered against him.
"It is noticed from the live news telecast on various news channels that Modi went to the polling station at Gandhinagar to cast his vote.
"And on his way out he was campaigning for BJP and delivering speech in a fashion to canvas for BJP, himself and also displayed the election symbol to the public while showing his finger for having cast his vote," the party said in the complaint, adding, "he may also be disqualified for such blatant violation."
Ahmedabad Collector, who is the Returning officer for the poll, replied in the affirmative when asked whether the Election Commision had sought a report on Modi's press conference row.
"We have sent a report to he CEO. We have sent a preliminary report. Shall submit video clip," Returning officer of Ahmedabad Roopwant Singh said.
As per the Election Commission norms, a candidate is liable to be booked for model code violation if he canvasses within a radius of 100 metres of a polling booth.
"We have complained to the Election Commission. We have sought immediate action by ... disqualifying Modi from both his seats," Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal told media persons
The Congress Wednesday asked the Election Commission to cancel Narendra Modi's candidature from both Vadodara and Varanasi for flashing the BJP's symbol "lotus" near a polling booth.
The Congress also demanded the registration of a first information report against the BJP's prime ministerial candidate for violating the model code of conduct.
Election Commission sources said they have asked the Ahmedabad collector to send a report on the issue.
After voting in Gandhinagar, Modi flashed his inked finger along with a badge of the lotus, the BJP's election symbol, at a press conference.
"We have complained to the Election Commission. We have sought immediate action by ... disqualifying Modi from both his seats," Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal told IANS.
In its complaint to the commission, Congress legal cell secretary K.C. Mittal said displaying the party symbol near a polling centre violated the Representation of The People Act (RPA).
He also said that Modi was campaigning for the BJP and "delivering a speech in the fashion of canvassing" after casting his vote.
The Model Code of Conduct of the Election Commission prohibits displaying any symbol attached to political parties in or near a polling booth.
Afzal said Modi was "arrogant" and considered himself "above law".
"He is just tearing apart the law... Modi thinks he is already the prime minister and perhaps above law," Afzal said.
"But he forgets that even the prime minister is not above law."