BJP claims Union Govt advt violates Code of Conduct

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Ahmedabad, Dec 9 (UNI) The Gujarat BJP today lodged a complaint with the Election Commission(EC), against the Centre for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct by issuing an advertisement in Gujarat-based newspapers, offering benefits to the minorities.

The BJP described the advertisement as a ''surrogate political advertisement'' with an intention to give political advantage to the Congress in the coming Assembly elections, BJP National spokesman Prakash Javadekar told mediapersons here.

He said the half-page advertisement, that appeared in Ahmedabad and Vadodara editions of the Indian Express, ''offers free coaching to students and candidates belonging to the minority communities in approved coaching institutes''. The advertisement was a clear instance of ''violation of Model Code of Conduct'', as it was explicitly directed at minorities and specifies specified it with names of religions like ''Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist or Parsi''students and promised monthly stipends to them.

The BJP urged the EC to issue notices and take action against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Minority Affairs Minister A R Antulay and his ministry.

The advertisement specifically mentioned the office of the Prime Minister in its heading, titled as ''Prime Minister's new 15 point programme for the welfare of the minorities''.

''The content of the advertisement and the timing of its release in Gujarat is aimed at using religion to woo a section of voters. It explicitly attempts to achieve polarisation of the electorate on the basis of religion,'' Mr Javadekar said.

UNI

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