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"Can Election Commission seek proof from PM?" Kapil Sibal after notice to Congress

New Delhi: A day after the Election Commission issued notice to Congress to furnish proof for graft charges against Bharatiya Janata Party, Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal on Sunday questioned whether the poll body would seek similar proof from the Prime Minister who accused the grand old party of having "backdoor political negotiations" with those "linked to terrorism".
Taking to Twitter, Kabil Sibal wrote, "EC: Seeks proof from Congress for graft claims against BJP. What about: Seeking proof from PM when he accused Congress of "backdoor political negotiations " with those linked to terrorism? Is it that EC dare not seek proof from PM?" On May 5, addressing a rally in Ballari ahead of the upcoming May 10 elections in Karnataka, the Prime Minister accused the Congress party of shielding terrorism for the vote bank.
"Congress is opposing the film 'The Kerala Story' made on terrorism and standing with terror tendencies. Congress has shielded terrorism for the vote bank", PM Modi said earlier on Friday.
"The Congress has kneeled down before the terror outfits when in power. We have suffered because of the violence for very long and Congress never protected this country from terrorism. I am surprised to see that Congress has succumbed to terrorism for the sake of its vote bank. Can such a party ever save Karnataka?" PM Modi said.
The Election Commission on Saturday issued notice to Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar in connection with BJP's complaint over a newspaper advertisement alleging "unsubstantiated but specific information".
It comes after Congress published an advertisement titled 'Corruption rate card' in newspapers in the state of Karnataka alleging corruption by the ruling BJP.
ECI stated in the notice, "While the general references and allusions to the alleged lack of achievement, misdeeds, not ensuring corruption-free governance of political opponents do float in the political campaigns, specific accusations and charges need to be segregated as the same must be backed by verifiable facts. Making specific charges, without any factual basis, is an action proscribed by the penal statutes".
"The allegations and imputations made in the said advertisement are not general. The advertisement, in its very content & format, makes very specific charges, accusing all levels of government machinery (political & bureaucratic) of being, compromised and saleable. This brings into disrepute the entire administration, which has the potential of fomenting a feeling of distrust and undermining the legitimacy of the governance system at large, which otherwise, inter-alia, is vital for the smooth conduct of the poll itself," the notice added.
The ECI has given Congress time till 7 pm on May 7 to provide empirical evidence for the alleged rates cited in the advertisement for appointments and transfers, kinds of jobs and commissions thereof.
"Failing the above, you are directed to show reasons for why action shouldn't be initiated against you for violating the Model Code of Conduct and relevant legal provisions under the R P Act and IPC, by 19.00 hrs of 7th May 2023," the notice stated.
It also added that in case the party fails to give any response, it will be considered that the party has "nothing" to say in the matter, and 'appropriate action' can be taken against it.
Meanwhile, the final leg of campaigning for the May 10 Assembly elections has intensified in the State.
Karnataka will go to Assembly polls on May 10 and the counting of votes will take place on May 13. (ANI)

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