Election commission has asked political parties to show decency in campaign speeches
| October 10, 2015
Our modern day politicians are not known for language skills or mastery over various issues and that lacuna is being reflected in the kind of political discourse Bihar is witnessing. The choice of words and name-calling has in fact alarmed the election commission, already under stress of conducting polls in volatile Bihar.
The shrillness in campaign has forced the election commission to send request to the political parties to observe ‘restraint’ and ‘decency’ in their speeches. The poll panel has expressed “deep anguish” over the tone and tenor of the leaders’ speeches.
Name-calling and comparison to mythology has hit low depths. Ravana and Vibhisan to Duryodhana and Kansa along with shaitan (devil), narbhakshi (cannibal) and brahmapisach (super demon) are already part of Bihar’s poll landscape. Sonia Gandhi was called Putna by BJP MP from Buxar Ashwini Kumar Choubey , HAM chief Jitan Ram Manjhi was called Vibhihsan by Nitish Kumar recently. The incumbent CM, in turn, was called Ravana by the Mahadalit leader. Narendra Modi, meanwhile, has been called 'brahmapishach' after earlier being labelled 'Kaliyanag' by Lalu Prasad, who is still smarting after the PM used the term "shaitan" to hand him a dressing down at rallies on Thursday.
Amit Shah has an FIR against him for calling Lalu a “chara chor” (fodder thief) while referring to his conviction in the fodder scam. He said this while addressing BJP workers at Singhaul in Begusarai district on September 30. Lalu hit back a day later, referring to the Gujarat riots and calling Shah a “narbhakshi”. He, too, was slapped with an FIR.
Election officials have lodged 37 FIRs against several candidates as well as high-profile political leaders, including BJP president Amit Shah, JD(U) president Sharad Yadav, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and AIMIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi.
These speeches are “calculated to cause mutual hatred, disharmony or ill-will and aimed at aggravating differences between different political parties and classes of citizens on the grounds of religion, caste and community”.
The FIRs are against leaders and candidates for making speeches “without permission” and speeches that aim to “promote enmity and hatred between communities”.
The EC’s latest FIR was lodged against Sharad Yadav, who said at a rally on October 7 that those who don’t vote for JD(U) candidates would land in “jehanum” (hell).
The commission said that while it recognises the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution, such a right “is not absolute” and is to be exercised in such a manner that it does not transcend the boundaries of decency and morality, disturb public order, amount to defamation or give incitement to an offence.
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