NEW DELHI: The Congress on Monday moved the Election Commission against the BJP's alleged "misuse" of Doordarshan in broadcasting certain speeches by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and for using "Namo channel" as a tool for political campaigning.
The opposition party's delegation, comprising senior leaders Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, also made a representation to the Election Commission (EC) seeking necessary directions to Jharkhand's chief electoral officer and relevant authorities for immediate suspension or transfer of election officers and agents with pending criminal cases and complaints of serious nature.
"We have made three representations to the EC. First representation is that there are some officials (in Jharkhand) that have charges of bribery and undue influence against them," Sibal said.
"The other two representations are related to the misuse of Doordarshan by the BJP in broadcasting certain speeches made by the prime minister and the use of a particular channel which has come up in which the logo is 'Namo', and under the Representation of People Act and the guidelines of the EC there cannot be campaigning in this fashion," he said.
The Congress has called for a level playing field, he said, adding that the EC has stated that it will look into the matter.
A channel named 'Content TV' has been launched on various DTH platforms and it has been found that it is dedicated solely to Modi and the BJP for promoting and advertising the achievements of the government, personal achievements of the PM, his political rallies, and broadcasting interviews of prominent BJP leaders, the memorandum submitted by the Congress to the EC said.
It sought to pass of strictures or censures against the prime minister and the BJP for "using the channel as a political tool, while the model code of conduct is in place".
The Congress also requested the EC for urgent and necessary directions to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and Prasar Bharti (DD news), and further passing of strictures or censures against Modi and the BJP for "using government-owned news channels as a tool to promote and advertise their election campaign".
The 'Main Bhi Chowkidar' programme of the prime minister was being broadcast live on DD News and its YouTube channel, and the said programme was even being promoted on the social media handles of DD News, the Congress memorandum said.
"This broadcast undermines the fundamental task which falls to the commission: to ensure a level playing field for all candidates and political parties," it said.
Responding to a question on the representations made by the Congress to the commission, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said at a press conference that "whether it is Doordarshan or All India Radio, they have been subjugated and have been made departments of the BJP to propagate and preach the political programmes of the party".
"This is unacceptable and shameful that publicity-owned Doordarshan and AIR are used for propagating the political programmes of the PM. It crosses all limits of acceptability and decency, as also public conduct," he said.