Congress complains to child rights panel, Election Commission on ‘misuse of minor for campaigning by PM’

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New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday petitioned the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the Election Commission alleging the use of children for campaigning by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Gujarat.

Citing the violation of the Model Code of Conduct that bars the use of minors for canvassing, Congress in a complaint to NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo asked why he was “conspicuously silent in the matter”.

The complaint, by Supriya Shrinate, chairperson of the Congress social media department, cites the orders of the Election Commission and the NCPCR on the misuse of children for election purposes and demanded “swift intervention in the instant case”.

“A few weeks ago the Commission had expressed concern regarding the very presence of children in the Bharat Jodo yatra, an exercise to bring Indians together. We hope that concern was not selective and that you will take the strictest possible action against the offenders in question who have egregiously and without a shred of doubt used a minor for express campaign purposes. This is an actionable claim and it directly violates your own directive,” Shrinate wrote to Kanoongo recalling a January 20, 2017 order of the NCPCR which prohibits political parties from using children for campaigns.

Shrinate also mentioned in her letter the link of the alleged video uploaded by the BJP Twitter handle and featuring a minor girl campaigning for the BJP in Gujarat in the presence of PM Modi.

AICC general secretary communications Jairam Ramesh said, “This is an open and shut case of violation of child rights and misuse of children for electioneering by the PM himself. NCPCR and EC are on a severe test now.”