Congress at EC over ‘libelous’ ads against Siddaramaiah

Mangaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah addresses during the release of Congress "Election Manifesto" for the upcoming Karnataka Assembly polls in Mangaluru on April 27, 2018. (Photo IANS)

New Delhi,  The Congress on Friday submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission (EC) against the Karnataka unit of BJP for “publishing and broadcasting false, misleading and defamatory advertisements” in print and electronic media.

The party said such advertisements were a violation of model code of conduct by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which was doing this for the sake of votes.

The Congress complained that the BJP in Karnataka levelled “false, frivolous, baseless, unfounded and unsubstantiated charges” against Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to “malign his image”.

The complaint was made as the model code is in force in the state which goes to polls on May 12.

The party demanded that the Commission inquire into the complaint and take strict and prompt action in the matter.

The memorandum was submitted by Congress leaders Mohan Prakash, P.L. Punia, Vivek Tankha, Avinash Pandey, Sushmita Dev and Pranav Jha to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Om Prakash Rawat.

“That a print advertisement was published in various newspapers in Karnataka with an intent to malign the image of Chief Minister of the state by making false and unverified allegations against him.

“In these advertisements, the Karnataka BJP has made serious allegations and remarks using unsubstantiated and vague metrics like ‘goondaraj’, killing of lakes, garbage mess, etc.,” the memorandum said.

“These advertisements blatantly use the Chief Minister’s name and likeness to malign his character. Use of words ‘Siddha Sarkar’ and a cut-out of Chief Minister makes it explicit that the allegations are of personal nature…,” it added.

The memorandum stated that similar advertisements had also appeared on various television channels.

“We request the Election Commission, in accordance with parliamentary and democratic traditions, to inquire into the matter and take strict and prompt action…against the Karnataka BJP for violation of model code,” said the party.