‘Unverified charges’ against rival Rajeev Chandrasekhar: EC warns Tharoor

BJP leaders had approached the poll panel with a complaint that Tharoor accused NDA candidate and Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar of offering money to voters and religious leaders in exchange for votes.
Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar (L),  UDF candidate and sitting MP of Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor (R)
Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar (L), UDF candidate and sitting MP of Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor (R)File photo

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : The Election Commission has issued a ‘strict warning’ to UDF candidate and sitting MP of Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor not to make ‘unverified allegations’ in contravention of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for election.

BJP leaders had approached the poll panel with a complaint that Tharoor accused NDA candidate and Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar of offering money to voters and religious leaders in exchange for votes. Tharoor made the allegation during an interview that was telecast on a Malayalam news channel.

Thiruvananthapuram sub-collector & nodal officer (MCC), Aswathy Sreenivas, had conducted a hearing following the complaint. Tharoor had submitted that in no part of the interview, the name of the candidate or the party was mentioned.

He said the allegation made was only a ‘general observation’ as told to him by people. The channel representative submitted before the poll panel that no part of Tharoor’s interview was edited out and the impugned statement formed part of the actual interview that was aired.

“Any reasonable man could have made out from the interview that the accusations were directed at Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar,” the official said.

Citing the MCC, the sub-collector pointed out that it lays down that “other parties or their workers shall not be criticised based on unverified allegations”.

However, the poll panel said it cannot be proved that Tharoor has appealed to caste, communal, or religious feelings.

Meanwhile, Tharoor said, “I do not have the time to respond to it. I should not be discussing about other candidates. My focus is on ensuring that my message reaches the voters.”

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