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Election Commission issues notice to Rahul Gandhi over ‘Panauti’ remarks – violation of Model Code of Conduct sparks controversy

Rahul Gandhi made these remarks during an election rally in Rajasthan, where he referred to PM Modi as a 'panauti' and claimed that Modi's presence in the stadium caused India to lose the 2023 World Cup final against Australia.

The Election Commission has issued a notice to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi regarding his comments about Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The notice came after a complaint was filed by the BJP against Rahul Gandhi. The Election Commission has asked Rahul Gandhi to respond by 6 pm on Saturday, explaining why action should not be taken against him for violating the Model Code of Conduct.

Rahul Gandhi made these remarks during an election rally in Rajasthan, where he referred to PM Modi as a ‘panauti’ and claimed that Modi’s presence in the stadium caused India to lose the 2023 World Cup final against Australia. The Election Commission’s notice mentioned that comparing the Prime Minister to a ‘jaibkatra’ (pickpocket) and using the word ‘panauti’ is unbecoming of a senior leader of a national political party. The BJP alleged that Rahul’s claim of granting waivers of Rs 14,00,000 crores for the past 9 years is not supported by facts and may violate the Model Code of Conduct.

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The Election Commission pointed out that the expression ‘panauti’ falls within the scope of prohibited actions under a section of the Model Code of Conduct dealing with corrupt practices. The notice also referred to an earlier advisory expressing concerns about the declining level of political discourse and urging all parties to operate within the boundaries of the Model Code of Conduct and maintain decency in public discourse.

The notice further mentioned the Supreme Court’s pronouncements regarding the Model Code of Conduct and freedom of speech. It emphasized the need for political leaders to adhere to the principles outlined in the Model Code of Conduct during the election period.

In his rally speech, Rahul Gandhi claimed that the Prime Minister’s presence brought bad luck to the Indian cricket team, resulting in their loss in the World Cup final. This statement drew sharp criticism from the BJP, which characterized the comments as shameful and disgraceful, demanding an apology from Rahul Gandhi.

The BJP’s complaint alleged that Rahul Gandhi’s remarks not only violated the Model Code of Conduct but also spread misinformation about the Prime Minister granting large waivers. The Election Commission, in its notice, is seeking clarification from Rahul Gandhi on these matters.

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It is important for political leaders to maintain a high standard of discourse during election campaigns. The Election Commission’s notice serves as a reminder that leaders should avoid making derogatory remarks and spreading unverified information about their opponents. The Model Code of Conduct is in place to ensure fair and ethical campaigning, and any violations must be addressed promptly.

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