Mumbai: Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday said that after Union Home Minister Amit Shah promised that the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh will arrange a trip to Ayodhya for the state's people if it retained power, the Sena has written to the Election Commission of India asking whether it has relaxed the Model Code of Conduct.
The letter written by the Shiv Sena (UBT) accused the ECI of practising "double standards" in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Speaking at a news conference here, Thackeray said the 1987 bypoll in Vile Parle assembly constituency in Maharashtra was fought on the issue of Hindutva which led to the poll body revoking Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray's voting rights.
We feel the Model Code of Conduct has been relaxed (this time around). If that is the case, we should know about it, the former Maharashtra chief minister said. Giving the BJP a free hit and dismissing us as a hit wicket does not amount to holding free and fair elections, Thackeray further said, using cricket terminology.
Union minister Shah had said earlier this week that if the BJP retained power in Madhya Pradesh, its government will arrange 'darshan' at the Ram temple in Ayodhya for people from the state. The consecration of Lord Ram's idol in Ayodhya has been scheduled for January 22, 2024.
His colleague and another senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh also made a similar promise during the MP campaign. Thackeray also referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking people during the Karnataka poll campaign in May to say 'Jai Bajrangbali' while casting their vote to "punish" the Congress as the BJP targeted the opposition party over its poll promise of banning the Bajrang Dal. The double standards applied by the Election Commission are intriguing, yet understandable, given the fact that the commission is publicly perceived to be in alignment with whatever the BJP does during elections and even otherwise, the Shiv Sena (UBT) letter to the poll body said.