Half-hearted measures

With each passing day the campaigning for the general elections is hitting new lows. Hurling of personal insults and religious polarization is going on at an alarming rate. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has finally reacted and initiated action against a few leaders. However, these are half-hearted measures, and top guns, including BJP president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have managed to escape any punishment from the ECI despite making provocative statements on religious lines.
The ECI has passed orders against UP CM Yogi Adityanath and BSP supremo Mayawati, barring them from campaigning for 72 hours and 48 hours, respectively. Adityanath was found to have referred to the Muslim League as “green virus” and had made references to “Bajrang Bali” during an election speech. Mayawati was found to have made a communal appeal for votes from Muslim voters. This was followed by late-night orders against Samajwadi leader Azam Khan and BJP minister Maneka Gandhi, barring them from campaign for 72 hours and 48 hours, respectively. No doubt these are steps in the right direction, but the ECI has to do more to rein in the leaders who are violating the model code of conduct without any fear. On Monday, Himachal Pradesh BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti hurled expletives at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for his “chowkidar chor hai” remark. Recently, Amit Shah was accused of polarizing voters on religious ground. Modi has also been invoking the Pulwama terror attack and the Balakot air strike to seek votes. These are clear violations of the MCC. Unless the ECI takes action against the big guns, it will continue to be accused of being soft on the ruling party.