The Election Commission on Friday sent a notice to caretaker Irrigation Minister T Harish Rao for using ‘harsh language’ during his election campaign. The complaint was filed by Vanteru Pratap Reddy, the Congress’ likely candidate from Gajwel, who is fighting against Harish’s uncle and caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.
Harish has been asked to give an explanation regarding the incident, which has been documented on video, within two days.
Speaking to media, Telangana Chief Electoral Officer, Rajat Kumar said that the campaign had turned aggressive with many political leaders using strong and harsh language. He stated that in the past 4 days, they had received 8 complaints which were serious in nature.
“We received a complaint against Harish Rao from Pratap Reddy after seeing the documented evidence, we have issued notice to Harish Rao, seeking an explanation. The counter complaints were also made,” Rajat said.
While he did not disclose the specific complaint made by Pratap against Harish, 4 days back the latter had made a controversial remark about ‘cutting off’ TDP senior leader Revuri Prakash Reddy for alleging that Harish wanted to join the Congress.
“Criticism of other political parties, when made, shall be confined to their policies and programme, past record and work. Parties and candidates shall refrain from criticism of all aspects of private life, not connected with the public activities of the leaders or workers of other parties. Criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified allegations or distortion shall be avoided,” reads the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
Making an appeal to political leaders, Rajat asked them to abide by the Model Code of Conduct guidelines and not use harsh language. Detailing the punishment for violating the MCC, Rajat said that offenders could be booked with criminal cases.
Speaking about the law and order situation, he added that they have recorded three cases of poll-related violence in which 16 people were injured. He further revealed that the EC has bound over 89,384 cases and booked another 14,730 cases under the Code of Criminal Procedure (crpc). Rajat also said that they have marked over 10,000 polling booths as ‘critical’—booths which are highly sensitive and notorious for malpractice.