Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra of the Congress party and Himanta Biswa Sarma of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were both issued notifications by the Election Commission shortly after making controversial statements in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, respectively. Until December 5, the Election Commission has banned “yatras” headed by senior officials from promoting programs in the five states hosting elections and the byelection constituency in Nagaland.
Quick response of ECI
The quick response time of ECI is impressive. Political campaigns at the federal and state levels frequently involve using government resources, such as personnel and vehicles. And when the races heat up, politicians tend to sink to new lows in poisonous rhetoric. Since both Gandhi Vadra and Sarma are seasoned politicians (the latter holding a constitutional office), they should have been aware that their comments violated the standard code of conduct.
By October 30, both must explain EC. The comments made by Sarma on a minister from Chhattisgarh were deemed “prima facie violative” by the EC. And Sarma fired back at EC, saying that Congress had “withheld information” on X and restating his original position.
Comments and arrest
Gandhi-Vadra, who was also arrested for making insulting comments against Modi, also used her WhatsApp to reiterate her position. In these emotionally charged times, the problem of corrosive language on social media persists. Politicians who believe they can get away with violating “minimum standards of good behavior and conduct” advocated by EC feel safe here.
Netas should realize there’s a sell-by date because of voter fatigue and abrasive campaign statements. However, they can’t resist the allure of pandering to the lowest common denominator. Not just in the run-up to the state elections in November but also to Lok Sabha 2024, the commission will find it extremely difficult to resist and manage the belligerence on show to EC’s notifications. The work for EC is difficult. But the work is well underway.