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Saturday May 18, 2024

India poll watchdog’s inaction lets Modi commit ‘brazen’ violations: opposition

India’s opposition said the nation’s election commission was allowing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to continue “unchecked and brazen” violations

By Reuters
May 12, 2024
Indias Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves on the day he votes during the third phase of the general election, in Ahmedabad, India, May 7, 2024. — Reuters
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves on the day he votes during the third phase of the general election, in Ahmedabad, India, May 7, 2024. — Reuters

NEW DELHI: India’s opposition said the nation’s election commission was allowing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to continue “unchecked and brazen” violations by not taking action on opposition complaints of religious hate speech and misrepresentation.

More than halfway through India’s six-week national elections, the world’s biggest, the Congress party-led opposition complained in a letter to the Election Commission of India on Friday that “no meaningful action has been taken to penalize those who are guilty in the ruling regime”.

This was a “complete abdication” of the commission’s duty, it said. “As a result there has been an unchecked and brazen continuation of these violations, which are now committed with impunity and utter disregard.”

The watchdog is responsible for ensuring political parties do not violate election rules against promoting division along religious, caste or linguistic lines in the multiethnic South Asian nation.

In his campaign speeches, Modi, seeking a rare third consecutive term, has targeted the Congress, claiming it wants to help minority Muslims at the expense of other socially disadvantaged groups.

Representatives for the commission and Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not respond to requests seeking comment. Election results in the world’s most populous nation are to be announced on June 4.