ECI advises Rahul Gandhi to be cautious in public utterances, avoid remarks like pickpocket, panauti

    The Hawk
    March6/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    ECI Advises Rahul Gandhi to Exercise Caution in Public Remarks Amid Election Preparations: Political Discourse Under Scrutiny

    ECI logo. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi

    New Delhi [India]: Amid preparations by various political parties for the Lok Sabha election, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued an advisory to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to be cautious in his public utterances, sources said.
    They said ECI has advised the Congress leader to be "more careful and cautious" in his public utterances in future. The Delhi High Court had earlier asked the ECI to take appropriate action against the Congress MP for his speech in November last year in which he used the expression 'pickpocket' while attacking BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    The Election Commission had also issued notice to Rahul Gandhi over his 'panauti and pickpocket' jibes at PM Modi.
    The sources said that ECI reiterated its advisory of March 1 this year and said it should be followed in right earnest during campaigning. Rahul Gandhi is a star campaigner of the Congress.
    "After considering all facts in the matter related to certain remarks against Prime Minister as 'jaibkatra' (pickpocket) and 'pannauti' including High Court of Delhi order dated December 21, 2023, and Rahul Gandhi's reply, the Election Commission of India has advised the Congress leader be more careful and cautious in future," a source said.
    The Commission has asked Rahul Gandhi to take note of the advisory of the Commission to all parties, star campaigners and candidates while making public utterances.
    Taking note of the various trends and cases of plummeting levels of political campaign discourse in recently-held elections, the Election Commission last week issued an advisory to all political parties to maintain decorum and utmost restraint in public campaigning and raise the level of election campaigning to "issue-based" debate.
    The Election Commission will assess any indirect MCC violations as per advisory as a fair basis to rework the notices to be given in terms of time and content in the forthcoming elections, the sources said.
    For the general election to the Lok Sabha and four state Legislative assemblies, all phases and geographical areas of the elections shall be the basis for determining "repeat" offences.
    Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar recently emphasised that political parties should foster ethical and respectful political discourse that inspires rather than divides and promotes ideas instead of personal attacks.
    The poll body has also put 'star campaigners' and candidates on 'notice' in case of violations that followed the previously known methodologies during elections to avoid breach of the Model Code of Conduct.