Election Commission Raps Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi For His 'Panauti', 'Jebkatra' Remark Against PM Modi

Election Commission Raps Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi For His 'Panauti', 'Jebkatra' Remark Against PM Modi

The commission has further directed Gandhi, as a star campaigner, to take into notice its March 1 advisory for all parties, star campaigners and candidates in right earnest while making public utterances.

PTIUpdated: Wednesday, March 06, 2024, 06:40 PM IST
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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses a public meeting during the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, in Badnawar, Madhya Pradesh, Wednesday, March 6, 2024. | PTI

The Election Commission has asked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to be more careful and cautious in his public utterances in the wake of his "panuti" (bad omen) and "pickpocket" jibes at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sources said.

Acting on a Delhi High Court directive of December last year, the poll panel also asked Gandhi to follow its recent advisory for star campaigners and political leaders in the right earnest during election campaign.

EC's warning to parties

In the advisory dated March 1, the Election Commission (EC) had warned that parties, candidates and star campaigners will face stern action, rather than just 'moral censure' for any violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

It also said that the star campaigners and candidates who have received notices in the past will face stern action for repeat violation of the model code.

The EC had issued a notice to Gandhi last year after the Congress leader used terms like "panauti" and "pickpocket" for the prime minister.

The commission was also asked on December 21 by the Delhi High Court to decide on the notice it had issued to Gandhi for these comments, saying the statement made by the Congress leader during a speech delivered in November 2023 was "not in good taste".

EC raps Rahul Gandhi

Disposing off the court directive, the EC has asked Gandhi "to be more careful and cautious in his public utterances in the future", sources said.

"After considering all facts in the matter related to remarks such as 'jebkatra' (pickpocket) and 'pannauti', including the court order and Gandhi's reply, the Election Commission has advised Gandhi to be more careful and cautious in future," a source said.

The commission has further directed Gandhi, as a star campaigner, to take into notice its March 1 advisory for all parties, star campaigners and candidates in right earnest while making public utterances.

The poll panel had issued a notice to Gandhi on November 23 seeking his stand about his speeches during his campaigns for the assembly elections in Rajasthan.

The former Congress president took the "pickpocket" dig at Modi during his poll speech, alleging that the prime minister diverts people's attention while industrialist Gautam Adani picks their pockets. This is how pickpockets operate, he had alleged.

The court order followed a petition that had also objected to certain other statements by Gandhi referring to the prime minister as "panauti".

A Hindi slang, "panauti" loosely refers to someone who brings bad luck.

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