New Delhi, Apr 27: Accusing the Karnataka BJP of violating the model code of conduct, the Congress today approached the Election Commission over “misleading and obnoxious” advertisements published by the saffron party to malign the image of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
In its memorandum submitted to the poll body, the Congress also demanded action against members of the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) for approving such “scandalous” advertisements. The party demanded that the EC ban the publication of such advertisements like it did in Bihar on November 4, 2015. A delegation of Congress general secretaries Mohan Prakash and Avinash Pandey, party leaders PL Punia, Vivek Tankha and Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev submitted the memorandum to the Election Commission.
“That the Karnataka BJP has made grave and vile allegations which are absolutely vague and baseless. These allegations are not based on any verified reports or statistics and broadcasted with an intent to malign the personal image of chief minister,” read the Congress’s memorandum. “Such advertisements are not only misleading, but also amount to exercise of undue influence on unsuspecting and innocent voters,” it said.
The party said the MCMC ought to have disallowed the screening and publishing of such advertisements when these advertisements were sent for its scrutiny and approval. "The MCMC has failed in its duty to weed out such distasteful and obnoxious advertisements despite appropriate mechanisms of pre-certification and scrutiny of political advertisements being in place," the memorandum stated. “If these were not submitted for approval, strict action should be taken not just against the Karnataka BJP, but also against television broadcasters and publishers of the newspapers where they have appeared,” it demanded.
According to the Congress, one of the advertisements alleged that the Siddaramaiah dispensation had turned Karnataka into hell, and that the state government was responsible for breaking up society, death of farmers and 'patriots'. A TV advertisement also makes explicit use of the chief minister’s likeness and position by showing an actor sitting on a chair marked 'CM ’.
The actor is shown wearing a heavy gold watch and handing gifts to various individuals, the party added. The much-awaited Karnataka polls are slated for May 12.