India elections 2014: Narendra Modi accused of election code violation
Narendra Modi has been accused by India’s Election Commission of violating the election code.
India’s main opposition BJP’s prime ministerial candidate violated poll laws by flashing his party’s symbol and making a political speech while voting was going on in the seventh phase of the election, it said.
Narendra Modi addressed journalists and supporters after casting his vote in his home state of Gujarat.
He later posted a “selfie” of his inked finger on Twitter.
India’s general election, with 814 million eligible voters, is the world’s biggest exercise in democracy and the governing Congress party is battling the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for power. Narendra Modi is ahead in all the opinion polls.
He was greeted by cheering crowds lining the streets and on rooftops as he arrived at the polling station in Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s biggest city. Voting was held in all 26 seats in the state.
Andhra Pradesh also voted on Wednesday for the last time as a united state before it is divided on June 2.
Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh were among seven states and two union territories where 139 million eligible voters had to make their choice between some 1,300 candidates contesting 89 seats on Wednesday.
“The BJP will form a stable government in Delhi soon,” Narendra Modi said after casting his vote.
“The Congress party has already conceded defeat… It is the end of the mother-son government,” he added, in a reference to the Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul.
But photographs of an upbeat Narendra Modi holding a small white lotus flower, shown on television screens across India, have landed him in trouble with the Election Commission.
The commission said it had seen the video recordings of Narendra Modi’s speech and that it was evident that it was “a political speech intended and calculated to influence and affect the result of elections in the constituencies voting today”. It has now ordered the authorities to register a case against him.
A spokesperson for the BJP said Narendra Modi had done nothing wrong and that the party would respond to the Election Commission notice.
If found guilty, Narendra Modi could be sent to jail for up to two years or asked to pay a fine, or both, but correspondents say it is unlikely to happen.
Narendra Modi is standing for election in two seats – in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi as well as Vadodara in Gujarat. If he wins both seats, he will have to relinquish one.
In Andhra Pradesh – where voting for state assemblies is also taking place – brisk polling was reported through the day.
In Hyderabad city, scores of people complained that their names were missing from the voters’ list and in some polling centers electronic voting machines did not work.
The 17 parliamentary constituencies in Andhra Pradesh going to the polls on Wednesday are to be part of the newly-created state of Telangana.
Voting for the remaining 25 parliamentary seats which will constitute Andhra Pradesh after the state is split in two will be held on May 7.
The marathon general election, which began on April 7, will conclude on May 12. Votes will be counted on May 16.
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