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EC bars two BJP newspaper ads after Grand Alliance’s complaint

New Delhi: The Congress and Janata Dal-United, who are a part of Grand Alliance in Bihar, and the BJP on Friday approached the Election Commission accusing each other of disturbing the communal harmony in the state during the ongoing five-phased assembly polls.

The former alleged that the BJP was “promoting lies, false propaganda and communal tension” through advertisements in the ongoing Bihar elections.

Meanwhile, acting on the Grand Alliance’s complaint, the poll panel on Friday barred two newspaper advertisements of the BJP.

“In the ongoing Bihar elections, the BJP has been promoting lies, false propaganda, and communal tension through advertisements. This has vitiated the electoral process by promoting communal tension,” said a memorandum submitted to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi by Congress leaders Randeep Surjewala and Ajoy Kumar and JD-U’s K.C. Tyagi.

To buttress the claim, the memorandum included texts of some of the advertisements.

“As you will see from these ads, it is a shameless attempt at spreading false propaganda and creating communal tension by the use and misuse of select words in ambiguous contexts, that could be interpreted by multiple factions for inciting violence between communities,” said the memorandum.

Giving examples, the memorandum said: “An ad states that the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal-United, and Congress leaders are giving sanctuary to terrorists to appease a particular community for votes. The name of the particular community becomes clear when seen in the context of a previous advertisement that spoke about the Muslim community’s appeasement by the RJD, JD-U and Congress by robbing the plate of Dalits.”

“The advertisement further alleges Bihar government’s role in the delayed arrest of (Indian Mujahideen’s alleged terrorist) Yasin Bhatkal from the Nepal border. It questions if the delay was to allow a national traitor to escape or to make a particular community feel the government’s benevolence. The connection between letting Bhatkal escape and a community is done only to connect Bhatkal with the Muslim community,” the memorandum added.

“The advertisement alleges that due to the negligence of JD-U leaders, Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) terrorists are thriving in Bihar. The usage of the word thriving again may be called innocuous, but reeks of an intentional ambiguity to label all minority population of Bihar as being those of LeT and ISI allegiance,” it added.

Meanwhile, the BJP on Friday knocked on the doors of the Election Commission blaming the JD(U)-RJD-Congress of making attempts to disturb communal harmony in Bihar during the ongoing five-phased assembly polls.

The memorandum blamed Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Janata Dal-United’s Nitish Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Lalu Prasad for flaring up communal sentiments in the state.

“The RJD-JD(U)-Congress are trying to disturb communal harmony in Bihar Assembly elections for last several days,” a memorandum submitted to the Election Commission by BJP said.

The memorandum was signed by union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, BJP General Secretary Arun Singh, Sudhanshu Trivedi, Sambit Patra and Siddharth Nath Singh.

The letter quoted Rahul Gandhi saying in an election rally: “The BJP wants to get votes by making Hindu and Muslims fight each other.”

It also blamed RJD chief Lalu Prasad, and JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

“Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar have been making provocative and personal statements against the BJP leaders to communally polarize the situation in Bihar,” it said.

BJP also took on Lalu Prasad for calling BJP president Amit Shah a “man-eater”.

“Statements of Lalu Yadav against Amit Shah that “man-eater has become mad”, calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi “brahma-pishach” are highly condemnable and such statements violate election code of conduct and provisions of the Representation of the People Act,” the BJP said.

“These statements are a conspiracy to disturb communal harmony in the state.”

The BJP urged the Election Commission to ensure free and fair elections in Bihar and monitor the conspiracy of the RJD-JD(U)-Congress behind such statements.

“The Election Commission should take strict action against such statements,” it added.

(With inputs from agencies)

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