BJP, Election Commission in confrontation mode on CD
May 9, 2007 - 10:33:25 PM
New Delhi, May 9 - With the Election Commission setting a 15-day deadline for Bharatiya Janata Party - to 'unambiguously' condemn the communally inflammatory CD the party released on April 4 as campaign material in the just-concluded Uttar Pradesh elections, the two Wednesday appeared headed for confrontation.
The seventh and the last phase of polling to Uttar Pradesh assembly ended Tuesday.
'The party should come out with unequivocal and unambiguous declaration that it strongly condemns the contents of the CD so that the stand of the party before the commission becomes publicly known to the country and public at large,' the Commission's 21-page order said.
Annoyed over the Commission's order, BJP parliamentary party spokesman Vijay Kumar Malhotra told reporters 'election commission is not a holy cow which cannot be condemned.'
'We did not make that CD. There are thousands of CDs how can we condemn all of them?' he said.
The party had claimed before the commission that the CD, released by a senior leader Lalji Tandon in Lucknow, was not a part of official campaign material and that a junior worker had made it. The presentation was dismissed by the commission
The commission said the order did not mean that the matter is being closed.
It said it reserved the right to take action against the party, pending a report from the Uttar Pradesh Police.
The commission said the model code of conduct for elections, laws and the constitution prohibited parties from indulging in such acts.
Supporting the Commission's stand, the Communist Party of India - demanded the BJP adhere to this order.
Pointing out that the commission should have issued the order before the assembly elections were over, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said: 'It is not enough for the BJP to disassociate itself from the CD. It should apologise and condemn the contents of the CD.'
'The BJP leadership has to comply with the decision of the Election Commission and issue an unqualified condemnation of the contents of the CD.
'In case it fails to do so the commission should take further action so that the use of communal propaganda and the campaign during elections is put to an end,' Yechury said.
The BJP said it would take 'appropriate action' on the CD issue.
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