Thursday, May 30, 2024

Is EC going soft on MCC violations?

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c pradeep kumar

As the countdown to the general elections in the State ticks away, political parties continue to flout the Model Code of Conduct with impunity. Despite repeated complaints filed by various parties regarding MCC violations, the Election Commission’s response has been surprisingly lenient.
Critics argue that the EC’s approach in Andhra Pradesh contrasts sharply with its actions in other states, where stricter measures are taken against similar violations.
With the election fervour escalating, the verbal sparring between the ruling YSRCP and the opposition coalition comprising TDP/BJP/JSP has intensified.
Initially confined to issue-based criticisms, the discourse has devolved into personal attacks and dragging unresolved legal matters into the political arena. The recent escalation includes baseless accusations and assaults on the integrity of the system, which have garnered widespread attention.
A complaint was lodged against TDP chief Naidu and other leaders for disseminating misinformation regarding the Land Titling Act through public meetings, IVRS, and social media platforms. However, before the EC could intervene, irreparable damage had been inflicted upon the ruling party, with countless people exposed to false narratives via IVRS messages, Naidu’s speeches, and social media. Despite the EC’s directive to the CID to initiate legal action and investigate the matter, the dissemination of false information by the opposition alliance persists, leaving the public in a State of uncertainty.
On the other hand, the politicisation of the Vivekananda Reddy murder case by the opposition coalition and Congress has drawn scrutiny. Despite court orders prohibiting the discussion of the case during political gatherings, these directives have been ignored, further tarnishing the ruling party’s reputation.
In contrast to Andhra Pradesh’s tepid response, the Election Commission in other states has demonstrated a more stringent approach to MCC violations. Recently, the Telangana EC barred former Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao from conducting election meetings for 48 hours following complaints of MCC violations.
The absence of similar action in Andhra Pradesh represents a significant setback.
Manohar Reddy, president of the YSRCP Legal Cell, has accused the Election Commission of bias towards the opposition. While complaints against certain IAS/IPS officers by TDP and BJP have resulted in disciplinary action, more than 300 complaints against Chandrababu Naidu, Sharmila, and Pawan Kalyan have gone unanswered.
Reddy highlighted the YSRCP’s request for a gag order preventing Naidu, Sharmila, Pawan Kalyan, and Sunitha from discussing the Vivekananda Reddy murder case. Despite filing a complaint with the EC, no action has been taken, underscoring a lack of responsiveness to MCC violations. Reddy pointed out that former Telangana CM K. Chandrasekhar Rao faced sanctions for using derogatory language, whereas similar actions have not been taken in Andhra Pradesh.
Senior political analyst KS Prasad expressed scepticism regarding the EC’s impartiality, suggesting that the YSRCP may not receive adequate support. He criticised the NDA alliance for prioritising personal agendas over addressing blatant MCC violations. He cited instances such as the lack of action on the gag order related to the Vivekananda Reddy murder case, the attack on CM Jagan Mohan Reddy, and the ongoing misinformation campaign surrounding the Land Titling Act. Prasad suggested a possible conspiracy, noting the BJP’s silence on the issue despite the Act being formulated by the central government.

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