Maharashtra: Congress accuses BJP, Nitin Gadkari of violating model code of conduct; demands action

Apr 03, 2024

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], April 3 : The Maharashtra Congress has written to the Chief Electoral Officer in Maharashtra, accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari of violating the Model Code of Conduct during campaigning.
In the letter, Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe alleged that school children were used for the BJP's election campaign in Vaishali Nagar on April 1, despite the Election Commission's direction against it.
The party called it a "clear violation of the Model Code of Conduct" and a "blatant misuse" of power and position by the BJP and Union Minister Gadkari.
"It has come to my notice (attached evidence in the form of a video), that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and it's candidate from Nagpur, Nitin Gadkari, have been engaging in activities that blatantly disregard the regulations set forth by the Election Commission," the letter stated.
"Despite clear directives from the Election Commission regarding the prohibition of involving children in election-relate activities, BJP and Nitin Gadkari have been using school children for the purpose of their personal campaign.
The Maharashtra Congress alleged that school children from NSVM Fulvari school were used by the BJP and Nitin Gadkari for the party's election campaign rally held between 12-1 pm on April 1st at Vaishali Nagar.
"This blatant disregard for the law and ethical standards is deeply concerning and cannot be overlooked. The use of children in political campaigning not only violates the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, as amended in 2016, but also goes against the judiciary's directives, including a 2014 order by the Bombay High Court," the letter further stated.
The party further stated that such actions by political parties not only "undermine the integrity" of the electoral process but also "jeopardise the rights, privacy, and future" of the children involved.
It further accused the BJP of attempting to influence voters by "exploiting children" in their campaign.
The Congress party has demanded action against Gadkari and the BJP for the "serious violation" of the Code of Conduct.
"Hence, I urge you to take immediate and decisive action against Mr Nitin Gadkari and the Bharatiya Janata Party for the serious violation of the Code of Conduct. I have provided the necessary evidence for your perusal and am willing to cooperate further if needed," the letter by Atul Londhe added.
Maharashtra constitutes 48 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha.
The voting in the state will be held in five phases: April 19, April 26, May 7, May 13 and May 20. The counting will be held on June 4.