KC Mittal of the Congress' legal cell on Monday stated that the Election Commission must not let the manifesto released by the Bharatiya Janata Party into the public domain and immediately annul it. He called the release of the manifesto during the time when the people are voting in one part of the country as a violation of the model code of conduct.
"It is completely wrong to declare election manifesto when the country is going through polls. It should not have happened at all today, no matter in any part of India elections were happening. Whether it is the Supreme Court's judgement or that of the Election Commissions guideline it has been said that the manifesto must be released before the day of elections so that there is no scope of violating model code of conduct in nay manner or any questions being raised of corrupt practices based on Section 123 of the Representation of People Act," Mittal said.
"BJP must explain as to what was the reason behind their delay in brining the manifesto, whether it was their internal bickering or any other differences which led to not declaring it earlier. Therefore, they should clarify infront of public about the reason. The other important fact is that since the manifesto has been declared on the day of polling hence, it is clearly a case of violating model code of conduct. They have once again brought back controversial issues like the Ram temple issue and talk of article 370 in its manifesto which is a complete violation when the country is going through polls. Hence, the Election Commission must take note of. Our request to the EC is that this document of the BJP should not be let open for public domain and must be annulled forthwith," Mittal added.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday released its much-delayed manifesto on a day India began voting for a new government in the first of a nine-phase general election.
"Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat" (One India, great India) and "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas" are the main slogans of the 40-page manifesto. The party promises economic revival, development for all as its poll plank.
The BJP has also reiterated in the manifesto about its stand to explore all possibilities within framework of Constitution to facilitate construction of 'Ram Mandir' in Ayodhya.
The Election Commission on Sunday made it clear that there is no bar on a party to release its manifesto on a poll day, but it cannot be publicised or telecast in areas where elections are being held.