The Congress Leader Faces Action Deadline of November 25 for Alleged Violation of Model Code of Conduct
In a significant development, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued a notice to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on November 23 for his remarks using the words “Jaibkatra (pickpocket)” and “Panauti (jinx)” against Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the recent poll campaign in Rajasthan.
Rahul Gandhi has been requested to provide a response by November 25, failing which the Commission has indicated that “action deemed fit” would be taken. The Election Commission’s move comes in response to a complaint filed by the BJP on November 22, alleging that Gandhi made “wild allegations” and spoke in a “derisive and obnoxious” manner about the Prime Minister during a public meeting in Batayu, District Barmer, Rajasthan.
The BJP’s complaint argued that comparing a Prime Minister to a “Jaibkatra” and using the term “Panauti” was unbecoming of a senior leader of a national political party. Additionally, the BJP disputed the allegation of a grant waiver of ₹14,00,000 crore over the past nine years, stating it was not supported by facts. The complaint asserted violations of the Representation of People’s Act, Section 499 of the IPC, and provisions of the Model Code of Conduct.
Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya led a BJP delegation that formally lodged the complaint with the Election Commission on November 22. The delegation urged the EC to take appropriate legal action against Rahul Gandhi, citing the derogatory nature of the remarks.
In its notice issued on November 23, the Election Commission referred to an advisory issued in May of the same year, expressing concerns about the declining level of political discourse during the campaigning period. The Commission had urged political parties to exercise restraint at that time.
Rahul Gandhi has been directed to provide an explanation as to why action should not be initiated for the alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct and relevant penal provisions. The Commission has set the deadline for response by 6 p.m. on November 25, and if no reply is received by then, “action deemed fit” will be taken.
This incident follows another notice issued by the Election Commission on November 22 to the Rajasthan Congress president, Govind Singh Dotasra, for allegedly “camouflaging” political advertisements in newspapers as news reports or political predictions. The Commission stated that such actions distorted the level playing field and created confusion among the electorate.