Election Commission has done "nothing substantial and effective" to prevent paid news, violation of model code by social media and distribution of hate material, an upset Congress today alleged, a day after it accused the poll panel of "inaction".
"We hope and trust the Commission would issue order promptly, possibly today, since such issues can't be kept in limbo and allow the election period to be over, which would have serious ramifications on the conduct of fair poll," Secretary of AICC Legal Department K C Mittal said in a communication to Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath. It is the second communication by the AICC to the poll panel in as many days.
The party had yesterday shot off the first one to the EC after Narendra Modi's massive roadshow in Varanasi before filing of nomination in which it alleged that the "inaction by the Commission" gave an opportunity to Modi and BJP to flout the law which has serious consequences. Senior spokesperson of the party Anand Sharma had also wondered as to "why the EC was not alert" regarding preventing the live telecast of Modi's nomination filing in Varanasi and why the media was not told against telecasting it in the 117 constituencies which went to polls yesterday.
Drawing the EC's attention towards "issues pending" before it that are "substantially affecting the ongoing electoral process", the party today said that it had, in two communications on March 10 and April 8, pointed out the "misuse of religion and religious places for seeking votes. Sufficient evidence has been annexed. Such activities are not permissible in law and also violates the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), but it is being floated 24/7," it said.
Noting that social media is now covered under the MCC, the party alleged that there no mechanism to check and prevent posting of fake material and ads on social media, which is again effecting the fair poll.
It said that through its letter dated March 29, it had given given some instances of this but there is endless fake material on social media violating MCC. "Some action was taken by the Commission but nothing substantial and effective to prevent it has happened. Having brought social media within MCC it imposes a greater responsibility on the Election," it said
"Hate and malicious material is printed, published and distributed in public places all over the country to exploited public sentiments for votes. All the material was given personally on April 12 but no action seems to have been taken to remove and prevent distribution of such material," Mittal said in the communication noting that distribution of such material is on in trains, buses and other common places.
He also claimed that the law about prohibition of campaign 48 hours before the close of polling is being flouted with impunity, without any control or action, vitiating the polling process. He also alleged that there is no transparency and proper check on paid news.