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the MCC in paragraph 1 says “ any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutua

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 the MCC in paragraph 1 says “ any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities

By Nikhat Fatima, TwoCircles.net

The 2019 Indian Lok Sabha (LS) elections were held in 543 constituencies across the 29 states and seven union territories in 7 phases beginning from 11th April to 19th May, 2019.

The election this time has been a series of interesting twists and turns with a new event unfolding every few days.

A lot of ethically questionable incidents took place while real issues of the people were often put in the backburner. This article is a curation of some of the highlights of the world’s biggest electoral democratic process with a focus on some violations, disruptions, and biases in the system.

Model Code of Conduct and Campaign violations

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) has framed a model code of conduct (MCC) to ensure that the elections are held in a free and fair process. Among other things, the MCC in paragraph 1 says “ any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic”.

However there have been several instances where the candidates from political parties have used religion in their campaigns.

While some were taken to task by the ECI, others were given clean chits. Here are some examples of candidates who have potentially violated the ECI’s code of conduct.

Maneka Gandhi, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate in her speech at Sultanpur said that she is sure to win and told Muslims that if they do not vote for her she would not be helping them. If Muslims come to me for work, then I will have to think [about helping them]’.

Sakshi Maharaj, another BJP MP (sitting Member of Parliament)  from Unnao, had threatened to curse the people if they do not vote for him.

Uttar Pradesh chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was criticised for telling Muslims ‘If you have faith in Ali, we have faith in Bajrangbali’.

Adityanath Yogi has also referred to the Indian army as ‘ Modi’s soldiers’.

 the MCC in paragraph 1 says “ any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)  leader Mayawati in her speeches in rallies appealed to Muslim voters and had said, “In western UP, where people of all communities live…in Saharanpur, Bareilly, where there is a huge Muslim population…I want to tell the Muslim community…don’t divide your votes…give it to the BSP, SP and RLD alliance,”

Giriraj Singh,  a BJP leader said in Begusarai, “The nation will not forgive those who refuse or cannot say Vande Mataram [a slogan adopted by the extreme right as a symbol of Hindu nationalism] and do not respect the  motherland.” He also said that “My ancestors died at the Simaria ghat and no grave was built for them but you [Muslims] need three hand spans of space” A show cause notice was issued to him by the ECI.

Another BJP leader Ranjeet Bahadur Srivastava made a controversial statement by asking people to vote for BJP if they want to destroy the breed of Muslims while addressing a gathering in Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh, when he out rightly told the people to either vote for BJP or face consequences.

“In the past five years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made attempts to break the morale of the Muslims. Vote for PM Modi if you want to destroy the breed of Muslims. Despite partition, the Muslim population is increasing in the country and soon they will able to get the grip on the power through voting,” he said.

He also said, “After the Lok Sabha elections, the party will bring machines from China to shave 10-12 thousands of Muslims and later will force them to adopt Hindu religion.”

BJP Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Ramesh Katara of Fatepura constituency, Gujarat told the public that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has installed cameras in polling booths to find out who is voting for whom. “If votes to the BJP will be less in your booth, you will be given less work. Modi saheb, while sitting there, would be able to find out that you did not vote for BJP. Your photos are there on election card, Aadhaar card and even on ration card,”.

Azam Khan, Samajwadi Party (SP) leader was served notices by the ECI for his remark about Jaya Prada the actress turned politician wearing “khaki underwear”that is associated with RSS. She was his former colleague and had left the SP to join BJP which caused anger and resentment in him. This remark was also taken seriously by the National Women’s commission who issued a notice to Khan and the police also lodged a FIR against him.

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