The AJP as well as Congress had earlier complained against the BJP for a similar advertisement ‘in the garb of news’
The Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) has accused the Congress of taking a leaf out of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) playbook to influence voters through an advertisement in the garb of news.
In its complaint to the State’s Chief Electoral Officer, the AJP sought action against the Congress for publishing an advertisement designed as a banner headline below the mastheads of most local English and vernacular dailies. The headline read: “5 guarantees top agenda for voters – Congress wave across Assam”.
AJP’s office secretary Nikhil Bhattacharya said the “advertisement in the garb of news” published in local dailies on March 30 was aimed at influencing voters in the next two phases of polling on April 1 and 6. The first phase covering 47 of Assam’s 126 Assembly seats was held on March 27.
“…ECI should intervene in the matter immediately and stop INC (Congress) from publishing such unwanted and illegal advertisements. We request you to examine if the advertisements have amounted to exit poll of a political party,” the AJP said.
The AJP, forged in the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act fire and formed in September 2020, had earlier asked the Election Commission of India to restrain the BJP from publishing similar advertisements.
On March 28, the day after polling was held across 47 Assembly constituencies in the first phase, the BJP published a below-masthead advertisement reading like a banner headline. It claimed: “BJP to win all constituencies of Upper (eastern) Assam.”
Congress too had lodged a complaint following which the ECI issued notices to eight dailies that carried the BJP advertisement.
“Ours is different from that of the BJP. We separated our advertisement with a thick border and made it clearer that it was an advertisement from the party,” a Congress spokesperson said.
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