BJP alleges rule violation by Shiv Sena, demands 3 day ban on ‘Saamna’

BJP alleges rule violation by Shiv Sena, demands 3 day ban on 'Saamna'
BJP has demanded a 3-day ban on Sena’s mouthpiece Saamna

The BJP wrote to the State Election Commission (SEC) on Wednesday, demanding a ban on Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece ‘Saamna’ for three days on the grounds that it violated the model code of conduct.

BJP has alleged that Shiv Sena had tried to influence voters by publishing an article in Saamna’s Ahmednagar edition on February 15, a day before the zilla parishad elections.

The article spoke about transparency in the state’s civic bodies – a major point of contention between BJP and Sena.

While BJP has critisized the latter for the lack of transparency in the BMC, a Central Government report pegged Mumbai’s civic body among the most transparent in the country.

Maharashtra BJP spokesperson, Shweta Shalini, wrote to the SEC demanding that the Marathi daily be banned on February 16, 20 and 21.

She also sought action against the daily’s editor and clarification on whether the party includes Saamna’s cost in its electoral expenses.

Shalini, citing a rule revision made by SEC last year, demanded that Sena either stop publishing any ‘influential’ articles in its mouthpiece till February 21, or the election watchdog ban the paper till the local body elections conclude.

While speaking to a leading daily, the BJP leader also pointed out that since parties are not allowed to advertise a day before and on the day of elections, Sena violated the rules by printing that article.

In response to the petition, Sena MP and Saamna’s editor Sanjay Raut has stated that it is upto the SEC and not BJP to decide if any rules were violated.

The SEC, which agreed to examine the issue yesterday, is expected to take a call on it today.

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