A Congress convention, aptly called the ‘Jan Vedna Sammelan’ held in Delhi on January 11, 2017, saw the presence of the who’s who of the Congress Party and an address by the most prolific orator of modern India, Shri Rahul Gandhi.
Shri Rahul Gandhi said “I found Congress symbol in Shiv ji, Guru Nanak, Buddha, Mahavir’s pictures. I asked Karan Singh ji, what does it mean? He said (it means) ‘don’t be afraid.”
And boy! Was he right? The “Aashirwaad” pose is consistently found in religious imageries across different religions. Gods, their messengers, Saints all of them bless, don’t they? They also tell us not be afraid is an interesting observation and one must thank Rahul Gandhi ji for what seems like one of the most interesting revelations of this decade.
BJP however didn’t think so. BJP has asked the withdrawal of the Congress’ election symbol “hand” and cancellation of its status of a national party.
Here’s what they wrote in their complaint letter to the Election Commission of India:
“Shri Rahul Gandhi, at a convention, named as ‘Jan Vedna Sammelan’ in Delhi on January 11, 2017, made religious comments by co-relating the symbol of Indian National Congress with religious gods such as Shivji, Guru Nanak, Buddha, Mahavir and Islam, violating the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, MCC and the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court.
The Congress party has not disassociated itself from the statements of Shri Rahul Gandhi. Therefore, it has also further violated the Model Code of Conduct.
Therefore, it is liable to be proceeded against under Para 16A and 18 of the Election Symbols Order, 1968, and the allotment of hand symbol of Congress party may kindly be withdrawn with immediate effect, along with cancellation of its recognition as a national party.
Since the Indian National Congress and its leaders are “flouting the code”, “appropriate action should be taken against the Indian National Congress as well as Rahul Gandhi.
While it may sound like an extremely overstretched-overambitious-going-for-an-overkillish argument, BJP is actually on the right side of the law.
The law states:
1 The appeal by a candidate or his agent or by any other person with the consent of a candidate or his election agent to vote or refrain from voting for any person on the ground of his religion, race, caste, community or language or the use of, or appeal to religious symbols or the use of, or appeal to, national symbols, such as the national flag or the national emblem, for the furtherance of the prospects of the election of that candidate or for prejudicially affecting the election of any candidate:
2 [Provided that no symbol allotted under this Act to a candidate shall be deemed to be a religious symbol or a national symbol for the purposes of this clause.]
Source: LawMin official Site
So has the ECI rejected BJP’s letter yet?
No. In fact, According to BJP Senior leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the Election Commission has said that they have taken it very seriously and that they’ll take necessary steps. As per Naqvi, Rahul Gandhi has equated voting for Congress as voting for the religion which is an open flouting of the electoral norms.
In a highly televised world and a world whose agenda is set by Twitter trends, the most prolific orator of modern India, Shri Rahul Gandhi should have been little less creative with his metaphors. His metaphors reduced them to a 44 MP Party, a 44 MP Party sans a symbol would look really bad.
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