NEW DELHI, November 21: BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Wednesday denied having violated the Model Code of Conduct.
In a nine-page reply to the Election Commission’s notice to him for the use of term khooni panja, the Gujarat Chief Minister said the term that he used during one of his speeches in Chhattisgarh was used colloquially.
Senior BJP leader M.A. Naqvi said Mr. Modi had informed the Commission that the complaint against the use khooni panja was based on “fiction and not fact” and he did not intend it as a personal attack against anybody.
“The panja [hand] is the Congress’ symbol, but it was not meant to be a personal attack. Mr. Modi was just exercising his right of free speech. The term is an expression used commonly and colloquially. Besides, it was an attack against the party’s symbol; they can do the same,” Mr. Naqvi said.
The Commission served a notice to Mr. Modi on November 13 over the use of the term and directed him to file his response by November 20. The notice followed a complaint filed by the Congress.
On Wednesday, the BJP petitioned the Commission to derecognise the Congress as a national party for what it described as “repeated violations” of the code of conduct. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, despite the Commission’s “rap”, had not refrained from making speeches that the BJP considered “inflammatory,” it said.