The Congress on Tuesday accused the Bharat Rashtra Samithi of spreading “falsehood” in an ad it published against it and misleading the people of Telangana ahead of the state assembly election in violation of the model code of conduct.
It urged the Election Commission to take immediate action in the matter.
Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the advertisement under the heading “Scamgress” was a “spread of patent falsehood” in the midst of the election process in Telangana and shows a clear link between the BRS and the BJP.
He claimed that the advertisement did not even have the approval of the poll body as is required under the law.
He said the move was a reflection of a “bewildered BRS” staring at a defeat.
“When a political regime is at its weakest, it begins to engage in questionable and often embarrassing political tactics. Staring at an imminent defeat in the upcoming elections, the BRS has lost all semblance of political restraint and composure. It has issued a print advertisement which demonstrates the desperation to try and diminish the Congress wave that is sweeping the state of Telangana,” he told reporters here.
He said what makes it all the more laughable is that these are the same “false, hollow allegations,” which the BJP has been using with a staggering and consistent lack of success in every election since 2014.
“The clear link between the BJP and the BRS now stands exposed before the public,” he alleged.
Mr Singhvi said while the Congress has never shied away from defending itself against any attempts at tarnishing its reputation, this time there is an additional cause of action as the BRS published the ad without seeking approval/pre-certification – required for E-Newspapers as per ECI Circular dated August 24th, 2023 – from the Election Commission of India.
“These are very serious charges, unprecedented in their brazenness, and if true, constitute fraud, perjury and misrepresentation. All of these are very serious offences under the Indian Penal Code. The irony is that while making allegations of illegality, they seem to have committed several serious illegalities themselves,” he claimed.
Mr Singhvi said the party has filed a complaint with the EC in connection with the matter.
“Criticism of other political parties, when made, shall be confined to their policies and programmes, past record and work…Criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified allegations or distortions shall be avoided,” he said, citing the content of the complaint.
The spirit of the Model Code of Conduct does not involve mere avoidance of a direct violation, but also prohibition on attempts to vitiate the electoral space through suggestive or indirect statements or innuendos, he said.
The Congress leader said the EC, on a complaint by the BJP, recently issued a notice to its senior leader for asking questions to the Modi government on its disinvestment policy on the grounds that unproven allegations cannot be made in a political campaign.
“In this case, there is a banal attempt at name-calling which is based on far more sinister charges. We hope that the same zeal with which a notice was issued to the INC leaders will be exercised in calling the BRS leaders to account since they have completely crossed the ‘Laxman Rekha’ and have not only made false allegations but have, apparently and allegedly, indulged in serious fraud to mislead the public,” said the lawyer-politician.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)