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Sunday 19 January 2020

Rahul’s interview: Officials to decide violation of legal provisions

Ahmedabad: Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer B B Swain said all the videos of Gandhi’s interviews telecast yesterday had been obtained. Election officials in Gujarat are going through Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi’s television interviews to see if any legal provisions related to the country’s poll code were violated by the channels which aired them.

Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer B B Swain said all the videos of Gandhi’s interviews telecast yesterday had been obtained.

“The Election Commission yesterday directed us to take action after screening the videos of the interviews to decide if there was any violation of legal provisions, as prescribed under section 126(1)(b) of the Representation of People Act,” Swain told reporters in Gandhinagar.

“Our officials acquired those videos today. The screening process has been initiated,” he said.

A political storm broke out yesterday after some Gujarati news channels aired Gandhi’s interviews on the eve of the second phase of the state Assembly elections, being held in Central and Northern Gujarat today. The interviews were telecast a day after campaigning came to an end.

Following a complaint by the BJP, the EC issued a show cause notice to Gandhi for “prima facie” violating the provisions of the election law and the model code by granting interviews to the channels.

The EC also directed the Gujarat CEO to lodge an FIR against anyone found guilty of violating the legal provisions.

The EC notice had said the TV interviews fell within the definition of “election matter” and violated the Act.

“…By giving such interview and its display on TV channels on 13 December, you have, prima facie, violated the…provisions of para 1 (4) of the Model Code of Conduct, Section 126 (1) (b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and the Election Commission’s lawful instructions in this regard,” it had said.

After the notice to Gandhi, the Congress today said the Election Commission was a BJP “puppet” for not acting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his “roadshow” in Gujarat.

The Congress had also petitioned the Election Commission to take action against Modi for addressing an event organised by an industry body yesterday where he attacked the main opposition party.

PTI

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