Amidst the violent clashes during BJP president Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata that led to the Election Commission curtailing campaign time, one thing appears to have slipped everyone’s notice… how activities at Shah’s roadshow may have violated provisions of the Model Code of Conduct.
Have a look at the following video uploaded on BJP’s own Youtube channel which clearly shows that people at the rally were repeatedly chanting “Jai Shree Ram” and also many participants were dressed as deities like Hanuman and Ram.
The chanting of Jai Shree Ram by BJP workers and deity costumes have also been reported widely by different media houses. It is noteworthy that the controversial roadshow took place just days after Amit Shah openly dared West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to arrest him for chanting Jai Shree Ram. Addressing a rally at Joynagar, Shah had reportedly said, “Mamata Didi, I am saying Jai Shree Ram. I am going to Kolkata. If you have guts, arrest me!”
Now, according to the Election Model Code of Conduct, General Rules, Para 3, “There shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes.”
But the presence of roadshow participants dressed as deities of one particular faith appears to be a violation of this provision as do the chants of Jai Shree Ram. It doesn’t matter even if the people who were dressed as deities or chanting the religious slogans were or weren’t BJP workers or members. The fact that the party allowed them to participate in the rally despite violating the code of conduct and did nothing to stop them appears to make them at least partly complicit. It remains to be seen if the EC will take cognisance of this violation and hold the BJP accountable.