Modi gets 4 more days to reply to EC notice on ‘khooni panja’

NEW DELHI, Nov 16:
The Election Commission today granted four more days to Narendra Modi to reply to its notice over his “khooni panja” (bloody claw) remark made during campaigning for Chhattisgarh polls after he sought more time.
The Commission, after deliberating on the matter, has asked Modi to now reply to its notice by 11.30 AM on November 20 and granted him more time as sought by him. He was to reply by today morning, but Modi and the BJP sought additional time of a week to reply to the EC notice as the Gujarat Chief Minister was busy campaigning for elections.
The EC had issued a notice to Modi on November 13 to reply as to why action should not be initiated against him for his “khooni panja” remarks, allegedly in reference to the Congress poll symbol, which is a picture of a hand.
“The party and Mr Modi have asked for one week’s more time from EC to reply to its notice to Modi as we have not been able to discuss the matter with him. Modi is busy in the last phase of the poll campaign in Chhattisgarh,” BJP Vice- President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters.
The Congress had complained to the Commission, which had got a copy of the video CD of Modi’s speech of November 7 in Dongargarh Rajnandgaon of Chhattisgarh along with the remarks of the Returning Officer before the notice was served on the BJP prime ministerial candidate.
Modi while campaigning in Chhattisgarh had said, “When Atal Behari Vajpayee formed Chhattisgarh, whose hands did it first go into…Do you want such a “khooni panja” (bloody claw) again…Brothers and sisters, don’t commit that mistake again. Even by mistake, don’t ever let Chhattisgarh go into the hands of a ‘Zalim Panja’ (cruel claw).”
The EC said in its notice that if no reply is received by 5 PM on November 16, it will be presumed Modi has nothing to say and the Commission will then take appropriate action without any further reference to him.
“Whereas, it has been, prima facie, observed that by making the aforesaid statements, you have violated the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct,” the EC notice said.
The EC had earlier issued a similar notice to Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi for saying that some victims of the Muzaffarnagar riots had been approached by Pakistani intelligence agency ISI and accusing BJP of spreading hatred among communities.
The poll body has expressed its displeasure to Gandhi over his comments and asked him to be more circumspect in his public utterances in the future.
The poll watchdog has said that the Model Code of Conduct was in force in Chhattisgarh in the run up to polls and criticism of other political parties shall be confined to their policies and programmes, past record and works.
Criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified allegations or distortion shall be avoided, it said.
Assembly polls in Chhattisgarh are being held in two phases. The second phase of voting is on Tuesday. (PTI)

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