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Chowkidar chor hai campaign banned in Madhya Pradesh

By Anuj Cariappa

Bhopal, Apr 18: The Election Commission (EC) on Thursday banned the Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee's audio and video poll campaign which uses the phrase 'chowkidaar chor hai' following objections from the BJP.

Chowkidar chor hai campaign banned in Madhya Pradesh

The Congress said it would request the EC to review its decision, as the campaign did not name any person.

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As per an EC spokesperson, state's joint Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Kaul's order said that the campaign, titled chowkidaar chor hai', was being banned as the EC's media certification and scrutiny committee decided to revoke the permission granted to it on April 5.

The BJP had complained to the poll authorities that the campaign used objectionable language against 'chowkidaar', which referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been using the phrase 'chowkidaar chor hai' (the watchman is thief) to target Modi over the Rafale fighter aircraft deal. Modi, earlier, had termed himself as nation's 'chowkidaar' or watchman.

The BJP's complaint also stated that the Supreme Court is hearing a petition against Gandhi in this regard.

BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi last week filed a criminal contempt petition in the apex court against Gandhi for using the phrase chowkidar chor hai' against Modi, pleading that he misinterpreted the SC's recent order on the Rafale row. The court asked Gandhi to give an explanation by April 22.

State BJP vice president Vijesh Lunawat said Gandhi was using "abusive" words against the prime minister.

"He was incorrectly citing the SC verdict while levelling this allegation ('chowkidaar chor hai'). We told the EC that the Supreme Court had not said anything of this kind," he said.

State Congress' media cell chairperson Shobha Oza told PTI that her party would seek a review of the order.

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"The EC gave approval to this campaign and later withdrew the permission which is unfortunate. Our delegation will meet EC officials Thursday evening," she said.

There was nothing objectionable in the campaign as it did not mention any person, she said, claiming that no reasons were given by the EC while revoking the order.

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