Petition to Election Commissioner for action against RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat

A petition has been sent to the Election Commission of India for taking immediate action against RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat for his allegedly communal speech at Hindu Sammelan at Betul in Madhya Pradesh, prior to the polls in Uttar Pradesh, terming it as violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

The petitioner Shehzad Poonawalla has urged the Election Commission of India to take immediate action against “an extremely communal set of remarks, violative of the Model Code of Conduct and the recent verdict by Supreme Court that prohibits using religion to garner votes.” He has further aid that such “offensive remarks, brimming with vitriol, were made by him in Betul Madhya Pradesh but were broadcasted all over the country including Uttar Pradesh, which will see elections soon.

Citing an Indian Express article headlined ‘Everyone living in India is Hindu says RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’, Poonawalla has claimed that in the past, whenever elections have taken place in Uttar Pradesh such statements have been made by leaders of the Sangh Parivar. The same petitioner had filed complaints earlier against alleged communal statements by Sakshi Maharaj and Parvesh Verma of BJP. Consequently, notice was issued to Sakshi Maharaj and he was censured by the EC. Suresh Rana too was booked for his hate speech after his complaint, claims the petitioner.

Poonawalla says that such statements “may seem innocuous on being read without context. But the audience and the location at which these remarks have been made, reveal the sinister design of Mr. Mohan Bhagwat.”

Poonawalla claims that this was not a one-off remark made by Mohan Bhagwat. There have been a series of remarks that have been made by various leaders of BJP and Sangh Parivar that show a deliberate attempt on their part to vitiate the atmosphere prior to the elections of Uttar Pradesh in 2017. These statements only aim to polarize the electorate along communal lines and have no basis in facts. “Everyone living in India is not a Hindu – we are a multi-cultural and plural nation where people from all faiths and creeds reside,” says he.

Further claiming that such scripted choreography has taken place before in Bihar too during elections, Poonawalla is of view that although the statement was not made in UP, it is being broadcasted in Up through social and mainstream media and “is an invitation for likes of Mr. Owaisi (known for his communal politics) to spew communal venom.” Given that elections are a very serious affair, the implications of such statements on maintenance of law and order and ensuring free and fair elections can be adverse.

The petitioner has prayed to the ECI to “direct the prohibition of Mohan Bhagwat from campaigning or addressing gatherings in Uttar Pradesh till end of assembly elections,” and “take necessary steps against the Bhartiya Janata Party and Sangh Parivar for communal remarks made by Suresh Rana, Sakshi Maharaj, Parvesh Verma and now Mohan Bhagwat in just the last few days, as it is violative of various provisions of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951 and the Model Code of Conduct.

RNI news agency