Has the Election Commission chosen to become a willing party to BJP using religion for votes in violation of the MCC and Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act?

BJP Election
Photo: X/BJP4India.

To
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 refer to my letters addressed to you on several instances of prima facie violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) committed by Prime Minister Modi at electoral rallies. My letters are accessible at

https://thewire.in/government/is-election-commission-afraid-to-act-on-my-mcc-complaint-against-modi-former-bureaucrat-asks

https://countercurrents.org/2024/04/pms-speech-in-connection-with-surya-tilak-at-ayodhya-mandir-does-it-violate-the-model-code-of-conduct/

I find that the Election Commission has failed to act on my letters, thus choosing to remain a mute spectator to such serious MCC violations, which has encouraged several other star campaigners of BJP to do likewise, making a mockery of the Commission’s role and the idea of free and fair elections. 

The latest instance of the BJP using a religious symbol to appeal to voters has been reported at https://thewire.in/politics/bjp-makes-direct-appeal-to-religion-silence-period-ahead-of-polling

May I remind the Commission of the implications of Section 123(3) of the Representation of the People Act, which describes a candidate or a party appealing to vote on religious grounds as committing a “corrupt practice” as follows?

Section 123(3): The appeal by a candidate or his agent or by any other person with the consent of a candidate or his election agent to vote or refrain from voting for any person on the ground of his religion, race, caste, community or language or the use of, or appeal to religious symbols or the use of, or appeal to, national symbols, such as the national flag or the national emblem, for the furtherance of the prospects of the election of that candidate or for prejudicially affecting the election of any candidate

I feel anguished at the way the three of you occupying the office of a Constitutional authority under Article 324 should ignore my letters and the implications of the Representation of the People Act, suggesting that you have chosen to remain subservient to the ruling party, becoming a spectator, or even a party to BJP openly using religion to appeal to voters.

I hope that this letter will generate a wide public discussion on the role of the Commission and the divisive politics that seem to dictate the 2024 elections like never before. 


May I once again, at the cost of repetition, remind you that you have been chosen by the government to occupy such a high office post-retirement, not available to most of your colleagues, and, if you, instead of fulfilling the mandate of Article 324 to function as a politically neutral body, choose to function as an authority afraid of the political executive, you will be committing a breach of that mandate and a breach of of public trust?

Please remember, you three Election Commissioners are accountable to the people, not the political executive that has chosen you.

Yours sincerely,

E A S Sarma

Former Secretary to the Government of India

Visakhapatnam

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