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Election Commission has asked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to be more careful and cautious in his public utterances in the wake of his “panauti” (bad omen) and “pickpocket” jibes at PM Narendra Modi.
Acting on a Delhi high court directive of Dec last year, poll panel also asked Rahul to follow its recent advisory for star campaigners and political leaders during election campaign.
In the advisory dated March 1, EC had warned that parties, candidates and star campaigners will face stern action, rather than just ‘moral censure’ for any violation of Model Code of Conduct. It also said that the star campaigners and candidates who have received notices in the past will face stern action for repeat violation of the model code.
EC had issued a notice to Gandhi last year after the Congress leader used terms like “panauti” and “pickpocket” for the prime minister.
The commission was also asked on Dec 21 by Delhi HC to decide on the notice it had issued to Rahul for these comments, saying the statement made by the Congress leader during a speech delivered in Nov 2023 was “not in good taste”.
Disposing off court directive, EC has asked Rahul “to be more careful and cautious in his public utterances in the future”, sources said. “After considering all facts in the matter related to remarks such as ‘jebkatra’ (pickpocket) and ‘pannauti’, including court order and Rahul’s reply, EC has advised Rahul to be more careful and cautious ,” a source said.
The commission has further directed Rahul Gandhi, as a star campaigner, to take into notice its March 1 advisory for all parties, star campaigners and candidates in right earnest while making public utterances. The poll panel had issued a notice to Rahul on Nov 23 seeking his stand about his speeches during his campaigns for assembly elections in Rajasthan. Rahul took the “pickpocket” dig at Modi during his poll speech, alleging that the PM diverts people’s attention while industrialist Gautam Adani picks their pockets. This is how pickpockets operate, he had alleged.
The court order followed a petition that had also objected to certain other statements by Rahul.


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