Holding that Narendra Modi's interaction with the media after casting his vote in Ahmedabad was "impromptu" and not pre-planned, BJP today urged the Election Commission to withdraw its order against him and also issue clear guidelines with regard to such sound bytes and media interactions.
The party also complained to the EC against Rahul Gandhi for his comments against BJP made in Solan, Himachal Pradesh, during campaigning that there will be more riots if BJP comes to power.
"Based on the above submissions, we request the Commission to review and withdraw the impugned orders in reference. Pending review and possible withdrawal of the orders, the Commission may kindly direct the Chief Secretary and DGP of Gujarat to hold the earlier instructions in abeyance till further orders," the BJP said in a letter to the EC.
It also asked the poll body to enunciate clear guidelines for the future in regard to press meetings, interactions and sound bytes so that this does not continue to be a "grey area".
"The Commission ought to have considered the wider implications of ordering the registration of FIR in the instant case, since there have been scores of such and similar indiscretions which have appeared in the visual media such as the sound byte given by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh observing that there is no Modi wave soon after he cast his vote in Guwahati and the broadsides against Modi made by Amartya Sen, soon after he cast his vote," Convener of BJP's Election cell R Ramakrishna said.
The party has contended that when Modi emerged with the tie pin still held in his hand, the media which had collected outside the booth engaged him in a sound byte.
"The entire episode was impromptu; the interaction was not preplanned or organised. In fact, it was the lapse on the part of the local election authorities to have allowed audio video equipment in the vicinity of the polling station, in which a celebrity was registered as a voter," the party said, adding that "certainly sound bytes are not public meeting".
It also asked the EC if it can legally extend the scope of Section 126 to cover anything other than public meetings like Press Conferences, Press Briefings, workers meeting. "It is feared the Commission does not have the powers to do so. Any such addition would fall within the legislative competence of the Parliament alone," Ramakrishna said.
"Section 126 is a clearly enunciated law which confines itself only to a prohibition of a public meeting. Invoking Article 324 of the Constitution also amounts to over reaching by the Election Commission of India since residuary jurisdiction which is all permitted to the ECI by Article 324 cannot impact areas already occupied by law," he said.