Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi

With voting underway for the first phase of the Bihar Assembly elections, political leaders have intensified their campaign bids. As per the Election Commission's provisional data, Bihar has recorded a voter turnout of 18.31% till 11 am. At the same time, campaigning continues in full swing as the parties attempt to woo locals to vote for them in the second and third phase of the elections.

Against this backdrop, a tweet by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has become a source of debate for many on the internet. Both news organisations and ordinary tweeple have weighed in on whether Gandhi had violated the election Code of Conduct. Reportedly, the BJP may also approach the EC regarding the same.

"This time for justice, employment, farmers-workers, your vote should be only for Mahagathbandhan," Gandhi had said in a tweet in Hindi on Wednesday morning.

As per the Election Commission's Model Code of Conduct, politicians and parties cannot seek votes on the day of polling. But with Bihar voting in three phases, campaigning continues unabated in the state, even as some areas cast their votes. Rahul's tweet had not specified a date, region or even named particular parties. As such, it is unclear whether he can be hauled up for a violation.

Political parties and leaders including Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi have travelled to Bihar today to hold election rallies and continue their efforts. Accompanied by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Prime Minister Modi is addressing rallies at Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur and Patna on October 28. At the same time, Gandhi is slated to hold two rallies, at Valmikinagar in West Champaran and Kuseshwar Sthan in Darbhanga.

It must be noted here that while the PM had, in his comments, launched a scathing attack on the RJD-Congress combine, he had done so without mentioning either by name. Nor had there been any direct demand or plea for votes in favour of the NDA or BJP.

There had however been several mentions of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's prowess at leading the state to better heights, and how each and every vote for the NDA would help improve the lives of the people of Bihar.

Over the last few weeks of campaigning, there have been instances where the norms put forth by the Election Commission have not been upheld in their entirety. From critical comments about a person's character to jibes about their personal lives - the run-up to the Bihar election has seen it all. Not only asking for votes

Yashwant Deshmukh opined in response to a now deleted CNN News18 tweet about Gandhi's violation," Rahul Gandhi has done anything wrong by appealing the people to vote for his Party/Alliance, simply because he is still campaigning for next two rounds. Same holds true for BJP/JDU leaders as well,"

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal

www.freepressjournal.in