BJP urges EC to act against Congress for 'misleading' ads, resorting to 'corrupt' practices

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New Delhi, Nov 21 (PTI) The BJP on Tuesday accused the Congress of putting out advertisements in the form a news or opinion piece about a wave in its support in the Rajasthan assembly polls and demanded action from the Election Commission against the state's ruling party.

A BJP delegation, which included Union minister Mansukh Mandaviya and former minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, moved the EC with complaints against the Congress as they also charged the party with resorting to "corrupt" practices by asking people to give missed calls on a mobile number to get benefits of its guarantees if it retains the power in the state.

"A registered number was generated for the caller, creating an impression that only the caller would benefit by voting for a particular candidate or party, specifically the Congress party," the party delegation, which also included its IT department head Amit Malviya and another leader Om Pathak, said.

The Congress inserted this advertisement and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot also posted on X about it, their complaint said.

Mandaviya told reporters that this creates a narrative that only those who register themselves will get the benefits and others will not, and added it aims to mislead voters.

Prasad highlighted the BJP's another complaint which noted that the Congress issued Hindi advertisements in a couple of leading dailies about its "lahar" (wave).

The manner in which it was put out made it a deliberate attempt to make an impression in the minds of voters that it is a news/opinion published after a survey.

"It is a violation of the Model Code of Conduct and also the Press Council of India's guidelines on advertisement," he told reporters.

"The said advertisement is false, frivolous and wholly unverified, contrary to the actual facts and statistics available on record," the BJP's memorandum to the EC said and demanded stringent action, including FIR, against the Congress. It also sought action against the newspapers concerned.

The EC should direct the Congress to issue a public apology and put out in the same space a clarification to the effect that there is no wave in the party's support, it said.

"We also requested the EC to issue guidelines to ensure that such an incident is not repeated in future polls," Prasad said.

Hitting out at the Congress for its missed call advertisement, the BJP's memorandum said, "That giving a missed call and in return the caller is assigned with a registration number, which amounts to like distributing of coupons to the voters, that is an extreme corrupt practice." The Congress has violated the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and electoral laws besides the Model Code of Conduct, the BJP said.

Seeking an FIR, the BJP urged the EC to immediately stop Ashok Gehlot and his party from publishing or disseminating "misleading" advertisements. The commission should issue an advisory to voters about such malpractice and exhort them to not fall prey to it, the party said. PTI KR SMN SMN