EC asks AAP to modify campaign song, party dismisses request


PTI, Apr 29, 2024, 8:48 AM IST

The Aam Aadmi Party on Sunday claimed the Election Commission has ”banned” its Lok Sabha campaign song ”Jail Ka Jawab, Vote Se Denge”, but officials of the Delhi poll body said AAP was asked to modify the contents of the song since it violated EC’s guidelines and advertising codes.

The over two-minute campaign song, penned and sung by AAP MLA Dilip Pandey, was released at the party headquarters here on Thursday.

In a statement, the Delhi Chief Electoral Office said during a review and scrutiny of the advertisement submitted by AAP, the Media Pre Certification Committee headed by Delhi’s joint chief electoral officer made certain observations with reference to various provisions and guidelines stipulated by the Election Commission.

”The said creative/advertisement was returned along with the observations with the request to modify the contents of the creative as per the Advertising Codes prescribed under the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 and ECI guideline/ norms circulated vide letter dated August 24, 2023 and resubmit after modification, for the certification,” it said.

The statement said that the party was also informed that in case it does not agree with the decision of the committee, it can file an appeal before the state-level Media Certification and Monitoring Committee.

Earlier, the Delhi poll panel said certain images and phrases are ”slanderous” remarks and ”criticism of the ruling party on the basis of unverified facts” and also cast aspersions on the judiciary and police.

Addressing a press conference, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) senior leader Atishi accused the Election Commission of becoming a ”political weapon of the BJP” and turning a blind eye to its violations.

She also asserted that the campaign song does not mention the BJP and does not violate the Model Code of Conduct.

”It includes factual videos and incidents, whether it is the picture of Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest, whether it is the video of police’s misbehaviour with Manish Sisodia in the Rouse Avenue Court, whether it is the brutal detention of our volunteers in protests, everything is factual.

”Does the EC want to suppress the truth? Does the poll agency want to hide the misconduct of the police or the political misuse of the probe agencies by the BJP?” she asked.

This is the ”first time in the history of the country that the Election Commission of India has banned the campaign song of any party to stop the campaign”, she alleged.

”This is the same Election Commission which sees nothing when the BJP is making fun of the Model Code of Conduct on a daily basis. But if the AAP leaders even breathe, they are served another notice.

”When the BJP misuses the ED and CBI to put the opposition leaders in jail during the Model Code of Conduct, the EC has no objection to it. But if the AAP even writes about it in a song, the EC raises various objections,” she claimed.

Atishi claimed that according to the poll panel, the song ”Jail Ka Jawab Vote Se Denge” shows the ”ruling party (BJP) and investigation agencies in a bad light”.

”The most interesting thing is that throughout the campaign song, there is no mention of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s name anywhere, but the Election Commission of India says that ‘if you talk about dictatorship, this is a criticism of the ruling party.’ ”That means the poll body itself believes that the BJP is running a dictatorial rule in this country,” she added.

In its reply to AAP over the song, the Delhi Chief Electoral office said the phrase ”jail ke jawaab me hum vote denge” contravenes provisions of ECI Guidelines and the Programme and Advertising Codes prescribed under the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994, sources told PTI.

It said that images showing a crowd carrying Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s photo in which he is behind bars cast aspersions on the judiciary, sources said. It also said some clips showing party workers clashing with police incite violence, while frames showing Manish Sisodia being escorted by police show the latter in a negative light, they said.

The Delhi poll panel said certain phrases are ”slanderous” remarks and ”criticism of the ruling party on the basis of unverified facts” and also cast aspersions on the judiciary.

Maintaining that her party has done no wrong, Atishi appealed to the poll body ”to pay attention to the fact that the BJP is flouting the Model Code of Conduct every day and stop the work of stalling the election campaign of the opposition”.

”I really hope that after a few years, the elections of 2024 should not be remembered as the election in which India’s democracy ended, in which the Election Commission was not neutral, in which the Election Commission became a political weapon of the BJP,” she said.

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