Election Commission of India serves show cause notice to Congress leader Priyank Kharge and BJP's BR Patil Yatnal for their alleged derogatory remark. (Image: ANI/ Twitter/ @BasanagoudaBJP)
The Election Commission has issued a showcause notice against Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge's son Priyank Kharge for his controversial remarks made on the poll campaign underway in Karnataka. The showcause notice came after Union Minister Piyush Goyal, BJP leader Om Pathak and BJP spokesperson Anil Baluni lodged a complaint with the EC over junior Kharge's allegedly derogatory remarks against the Prime Minister. Further, the Election Commission has also issued a showcause notice to BJP leader Basanagouda R Patil Yatnal for his allegedly insulting remarks on former Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Both leaders have been asked to submit their responses by May 4.
As per the complaint against Priyank Kharge, the Congress leader allegedly made a derogatory remark about the Prime Minister at a public rally in Kalaburagi on April 30. Video footage of his remark is said to have been attached with the complaint.
Election Commission of India issues show cause notices to BJP MLA & star campaigner Basanagouda R Patil (Yatnal) for making a personal attack remark against a rival party leader along with issuing same to Congress MLA Priyank Kharge after receiving complaint that he used abusive…
— ANI (@ANI) May 3, 2023
Priyank Kharge, addressing a public meeting in Karnataka's Kalaburagi, is accused of calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi 'Nalayak Beta'. The word Nalayak loosely translates to 'useless' or 'worthless'. The comment immediately made headlines and triggered a severe political backlash. However, Priyank Kharge's father and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has denied the allegations of such a comment having been made. "No no he never said that, don't put these words in his mouth," Mallikarjun Kharge said when reporters asked him for a response on the comment Priyank Kharge allegedly made. The senior Kharge then went on to say that the remarks were aimed at someone else and not the Prime Minister.
The Election Commission also issued a showcause notice to BJP legislator and star campaigner Basanugouda R Patil Yatnal. Yatnal is accused of making derogatory remarks against ex-Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. As per the complaint against him, Yatnal allegedly called Sonia Gandhi 'Vishkanya'. 'Vishkanya' in Indian folklore refers to the character of a poisoned damsel.
Yatnal's comment is said to have been a reaction to Mallikarjun Kharge allegedly calling the Prime Minister a 'poisonous snake'. Yatnal allegedly went on to call Sonia Gandhi an agent of Pakistan and China.
The showcause notices against Priyank Kharge and Yatnal come a day after the Election Commission sounded an alarm over the plummeting level of discourse on the Karnataka elections campaign trail. "It is imperative for all parties and stakeholders to remain within the confines of the Model Code of Conduct and the legal framework in their utterances while campaigning so as to maintain the dignity of the political discourse and not to vitiate the campaign and the election atmosphere. They are thus expected to contribute in maintaining and raising the level of discourse to “issue” based debate, provide pan India perspective, depth to the local discourse and to reassure all sections of electors to participate fully and fearlessly in a free and fair election,” the Election Commission said in a statement.
"The spirit of the MCC is not just avoidance of a direct violation, it also prohibits attempts to vitiate the electoral space through suggestive or indirect statements or innuendoes," the statement further said. Karnataka goes to polls for its 224-seat Assembly on May 10. Results will be declared on May 13.