EC issues show cause notices to Sonia, Digvijay

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New Delhi, Dec 9 (UNI) The Election Commission (EC) today issued show cause notices to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and senior party leader Digvijay Singh for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct during their election campaigns in Gujarat.

The EC also issued a show cause notice to BJP deputy leader in the Lok Sabha V K Malhotra for allegedly breaching the Model Code of Conduct by stating in a election speech that Ms Gandhi had a hatred for Hindus.

In the notice to Ms Gandhi, the EC said, ''It has been brought to the notice of the Commission that you, in connection with the election campaign at Jamanpada, Chikhli (Navsari) on December 1, 2007, have made speech stating that 'during the rule of people who claim a Bhaya mukt Samaj, no body is safe. So many of my sisters, children and brothers have been exploited and are being exploited even now. Only criminals are safe; those who are getting protection from the Government. The truth is that today, those running the Gujarat Government are liars, betrayers and merchants of fear and death'.

''A copy each of complaints dated December 2 and December 7, made by Mr Jayantilal S Barot, General Secretary, BJP, Gujarat in this regard is enclosed herewith. A copy of C D relating to your aforesaid speech is also enclosed herewith, '' the EC said.

The notice to Mr Singh was based on media reports of his election speech.

The commission, in a hurriedly convened meeting here before leaving for Gujarat, decided to issue the notices, EC sources said. ''This is being done to convey to all political parties and the masses that the EC is not working in a partial manner,'' the sources added.

Earlier, the EC had directed the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Gujarat to furnish the speeches of Ms Gandhi and Mr Singh in which the two leaders had reportedly described Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as ''Maut ka Saudagar'' (merchant of death) during their election campaigns in the state.

The EC had not yet taken any decision on Mr Modi's case as it would take some more time to study his reply, the sources added.

UNI

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