GUWAHATI: An advertisement by the Bharatiya Janata Party BJP, in some of the leading dailies of Assam, has landed the party into trouble, after the Congress has lodged an FIR for attempting to mislead the voters by "camouflaging an advertisement as news" in front-page headlines in various newspapers across the state predicting the party's victory in all the seats in Upper Assam that went to polls in the first phase on March 27.
Following the first phase of assembly elections in Assam, the BJP issued an advertisement in the leading dailies of Assam wherein it has predicted the party's victory.
Claiming it as an attempt of pre-planned conspiracy to deceive voters in the second and third phases, Congress lodged an FIR with the Dispur Police station on Sunday night for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), provisions of Section 126A of the Representation of People Act, 1951 and the ECI's directives issued on March 26, APCC Legal Department Chairman Niran Borah said.
The complaint was filed against Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, BJP chief J P Nadda, state president Ranjeet Kumar Dass and eight leading newspapers.
"This is a blatant violation of MCC, Representation of People Act, 1951 and the ECI's relevant instructions and media policies by BJP leaders and members, who after realising that their defeat is inevitable have resorted to desperate illegal and unconstitutional methods to influence the voters across the state," Borah said in the statement.
He further alleged that the BJP has resorted to the publication of large-scale advertisements falsely predicting the party's victory is in direct violation of the protocols set by the EC. The APCC further urged the police to take "prompt and necessary action" against those named in the complaint, including the newspapers.
Moreover, the State Congress has also filed a complaint with the Assam Chief Electoral Officer Nitin Khade and the AICC with the Election Commission of India against the publication of the advertisements on Sunday urging immediate action against the BJP and the newspapers.
Objecting against BJPs advertisement Congress leaders Randeep Surjewala, Ajay Maken and Mukul Wasnik have written to ECI and sought directions and action against top BJP leaders for giving advertisements in newspapers claiming victory in all seats in upper Assam. They said such advertisements violate the poll panel's directions that no one can make predictions of the results during the prohibited period.
"We pray to the EC to take all such actions as may be necessary and required in law, including direction for registration of offenses against Sarbananda Sonowal, JP Nadda and Ranjit Kumar Dass for the blatant violation of Model Code of Conduct and the RP Act, 1951," the Congress stated.
While addressing the reporters, Surjewala stated that the saffron party was desperate about its win in the first phase hence to get an undue advantage it resorted to such practices that malice the fairness of the polls. He further urged the EC to take strong action under the law.
Speaking about the media publishing such advertisements, the letter added, "We also urge the Commission to direct all news publications and channels to desist from abetting the crime being committed by BJP leaders as also to adhere to and follow the EC instructions of March 26."