NEW DELHI (TIP): The Congress on March 27 lodged a protest with the Election Commission against the use of “Har Har Modi” slogan in Varanasi, from where the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is contesting the Lok Sabha poll.

The party sought the de-recognition of BJP as well as action against Modi for allegedly violating the model code of conduct by drafting a slogan along “religious” lines. Incidentally, the Congress has moved EC notwithstanding BJP’s clarification on Sunday that “Har Har Modi” chant was not its official slogan. Modi himself tweeted that “some enthusiastic supporters have been using the slogan ‘Har Har Modi’…I respect their enthusiasm, but request them not to use this slogan in the future”.

Modi’s tweet followed shortly after Shankaracharya of Dwarka Peeth, Swaroopanand Saraswati, objected to the chant, saying that it amounted to “worship of an individual”. In its complaint submitted to the EC, the Congress claimed that the ‘Har Har Modi. Ghar Ghar Modi’ slogan continued to be used by BJP workers in Varanasi. The Congress alleged that the chant was part of BJP’s strategy to “present” Modi as Lord Mahadev (Shiva), to exploit religious sentiments of people for electoral gains. Sub para 3 of Para 1 of the model code of conduct restrains parties and candidates from making appeals to caste or communal feelings for securing votes.

The Congress also objected to the use of Lord Shiva’s image as a backdrop of the stage from where Modi recently addressed a public rally in Varanasi. “Lord Shiva or Mahadev and the ancient Kashi Vishwanath temple at Varanasi have religious sanctity throughout the world. Hindus and all devotees of Lord Mahadev chant ‘Har Har Mahadev, Ghar Ghar Mahadev’ with deep sense of devotion to seek blessings of the Lord.

No human being can replace Lord Mahadev in the said chant,” said the memorandum signed by K C Mittal of the Congress’ legal cell. Citing media reports, it claimed that BJP had organised 400 mobile vans equipped with LCD TVs, carrying the Har Har Modi, Ghar Ghar Modi’ slogan. The Congress said the BJP had recently also come up with a new slogan ‘Dil mein Modi, ghar mein Modi, Kashi ke kan kan mein Modi (Modi in every heart, Modi in every home; Modi everywhere in Kashi).’ “The new slogan also aims at arousing religious sentiments and feelings of the people…’Kan kan mein Bhagwan (God is omnipresent)’ is a well known religious slogan…” the memorandum claimed.

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