Does the ECI have one set of Model Code of Conduct requirements for senior BJP star campaigners and another set for others?

Cowed down by BJP campaigners, has the ECI breached the Article 324 mandate?

election commission of india


Shri Rajiv Kumar

Chief Election Commissioner

Shri Gyanesh Kumar

Election Commissioner

Dr Sukhbir Singh Sandhu 

Election Commissioner

Dear Dr Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, S/Shri Gyanesh Kumar/ Rajiv Kumar,

I am sure that the Election Commission, which claims to be ever vigilant and fully committed to enforcing the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), is fully aware that the government recently notified far-reaching relaxations in FDI in the Space sector, blatantly violating the MCC requirement (

Strangely, coinciding with a scheduled meeting of Elon Musk with the Prime Minister (PM), perhaps to please him, the Union Cabinet had an emergency meeting to announce the above-cited policy in an indecent haste. 

Had the Commission cared to issue a notice to the government and called for its explanation, the Commission and the public would have come to know of the circumstances that compelled the government to take such a hasty, inappropriate decision at a time when elections are being held. While the BJP-led NDA government may have ostensibly cited the “national interest” as usual to justify its transgression of the MCC, in reality, the decision hurts the national interest irreversibly, which the public ought to know.

Ironically, better discretion prevailed on Elon Musk to call off his scheduled meeting with the PM, while the nation has been forced to live with a decision that would haunt it for a long time. 

The public have witnessed how the Commission acted with a great deal of promptitude against other political parties for prima facie violations of MCC, far less serious in nature (example:, whereas, the same Commission has been complicit in allowing the BJP, the BJP-ruled NDA government to go scott free for far more serious MCC violations. 

Evidently, the Commission has one set of MCC requirements for the BJP and another for others!

Over the last few days, I addressed the Commission several times, to act against the statements reported to have been made by the PM, distorting the statements made by leaders of other political parties and openly invoking religion to appeal for votes. 

For example, my letters referring to the PM’s statement in Tamil Nadu ( and his speech in Assam ( pointed to instances on which, if an an investigation initiated by the Commission had shown that his statements did violate the MCC and amounted to using religion for votes, they would have attracted not only penal action for MCC violation but also penal action under Section 123 of the Representation of People Act (RPA) under which it would amount to a “corrupt practice” attracting the liability of deterrent penalties (
More recently, the BJP announced a “mega rally of Hindu saints” to be organised at the IGI Stadium, on which I once again addressed you to act urgently but you chose not to act (t

Encouraged by the Election Commission’s silence and perhaps even willing endorsement, the BJP has since gone one step farther, openly using a religious symbol in its communications appealing for votes ( on which I requested you to take firm action ( As usual, you have chosen not to act against it.

The Commission has chosen to remain silent and inactive on each and every one of my complaints. In fact, every instance of inaction on the part of the Commission encouraged the BJP and its leaders to commit more and more violations in respect of both the MCC and Section 123 of the RPA, making a mockery of the very existence of the Commission as a “Constitutional authority”.

Time and again, I pointed out to you the “reservoir of authority” you have under Article 324 and how you could have come down heavily on all parties violating the MCC equitably, how you could have ordered the Central investigation/ enforcement agencies to function under your oversight during elections to prevent partisan action against the opposition, how you could have directed the NDA government to recall the BJP representatives from the Boards of Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL) and the SBI to impart credibility to those three CPSEs in so far as they are concerned with elections and how you could have frozen the unspent amounts from illegal Electoral Bond donations lying with the BJP and others. 

The fact that you have chosen not to invoke your legitimate authority against the BJP and the BJP-led NDA government has given the public an impression that you are no more than a body subordinate to the political executive, afraid of senior leaders of the BJP, unable to act against that party and ineffective in functioning as an independent statutory regulator of the electoral process whose primary objective should be to ensure that elections are conducted in a free and fair manner.

Many of your predecessors, though selected in the same manner as in your case, chose to remain apolitical, independent and effective, gaining public trust and credibility. I am afraid that the numerous instances of inaction on your part during the last few days set you apart from them.

I suggest that each one of you individually and the three of you collectively ponder over what I have said above and the concerns I raised in my previous correspondence, attempt a self-evaluation of your role vis-a-vis the mandate of Article 324, whether you could come upto the expectations of the public and the expectations of all political parties, whether the numerous instances of your inaction make you an abettor of violations of the MCC and a party to infringement of Section 123 of the RPA and whether you can call yourself without hesitation an independent, apolitical Constitutional authority. 

As citizens, we can at best appeal to your conscience but your action/ inaction will determine your credibility as a Constitutional authority.

All the best,

Yours sincerely,

E A S Sarma

Former Secretary to the Government of India


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