EC notice to Rajasthan Congress over political ads in newspapers 'camouflaged' as news reports

EC notice to Rajasthan Congress over political ads in newspapers 'camouflaged' as news reports

New Delhi, Nov 22 (PTI) The Election Commission on Wednesday issued a show-cause notice to the president of Rajasthan Congress for allegedly camouflaging political advertisements in newspapers as 'news items'.

It asked state Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra to respond to the notice by 3 pm on Thursday.

'...in the interim, refrain from utilising this format, content, language and placement of advertisement, which as per your own party's complaint in March, violates the spirit of the Representation of the People Act and the model code of conduct...,' the notice read.

The commission was referring to a similar complaint lodged by the Congress against the BJP during the Assam assembly polls.

The BJP had moved the EC against the Congress advertisements ahead of the November 25 assembly polls in Rajasthan.

The notice said it appears that the advertisement has been 'designed to look like a news item with the view to disorient the electors'.

'It is not only misleading but also seems aimed at causing a confusion in the minds of the voters regarding the outcome of the election, thereby attempting to disturb the level playing field,' the poll panel observed.

The EC said the advertisements referred in the complaint 'fails to adhere to the standards expected from a national party'.

The BJP and the Congress are among the six recognised national parties.

In a word of caution, the poll watchdog said the placement, design and the content of advertisement in the print media, prior to 48 hours of the date of poll, do not require clearance from the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee and thus is an action entirely controlled by the respective political parties with financial implications. PTI NAB SMN

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