The official X handle of Karnataka chief electoral officer on April 26 announced that action had been initiated against sitting Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya for posting a video on his X handle and soliciting votes on the grounds of religion. A case was lodged at Jayanagar police station in Bengaluru on April 25 against Surya under Section 123(3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. Police sources told The Hindu that they ​had taken cognizance of a tweet by Surya where he allegedly sought votes citing the Ram Mandir and asked people to vote for Modi for “a better and secure future.”​

The said tweet was shared by the BJP Yuva Morcha national president on April 25.

Section 123(3) of The Representation of the People Act, 1951, under which elections are held in India, prohibits a candidate from seeking votes “on the ground of his religion, race, caste, community or language or the use of, or appeal to religious symbols…” and designates these as ‘corrupt practices’.

The tweet by the BJP’s Bengaluru South also violated provisions of the election model code of conduct (MCC), which had come into effect on March 19 with the announcement of the 2024 general elections. Serial No. 3 of ‘General Conduct’ under the MCC states, “There shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes. Mosques, Churches, Temples or other places of worship shall not be used as forum for election propaganda.” Serial No. 4 requires parties and candidates to “avoid scrupulously all activities which are “corrupt practices” and offences under the election law.”

When Alt News went through the official X handles of BJP and its various state units, we found that the Ram Mandir issue, photos of the newly-built temple in Ayodhya and the idol of Ram and religious tropes were used rampantly in visuals while seeking votes, in blatant defiance of the above provisions of the MCC and the Act.

Official X Handle of BJP (@BJP4India)

In the past few weeks, both Prime Minister Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah have asserted that the Ram Mandir is not a poll plank for the BJP. However, the fact is that the Ram Mandir construction in Ayodhya has been a major election promise for the BJP for decades. It featured prominently in BJP’s 2019 election manifesto alongside matters like abrogation of Article 370. This election season, top BJP leaders, including PM Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah have used the Ram Mandir issue to seek votes and even described Congress leaders as anti-Hindu for not accepting invitation to the Ram Mandir consecration ceremony in January this year in speech after speech.

Below, readers can find a handful of the many tweets by the official X handle of the BJP (@BJP4India) where the party used visuals of the Ram Mandir or related ones to woo voters. Several of these posts draw a direct correlation between the temple and votes for the BJP. We have highlighted some part of some of these tweets which clearly seek to divide the electorate stoking religious sentiments vis-a-vis the Ram Mandir issue.

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BJP Uttar Pradesh (@BJP4UP)

In a video shared by BJP Uttar Pradesh’s official X handle on April 21, Union home minister Amit Shah can be heard saying how Ram Mandir is not a tool for their election campaigning. The caption of the tweet also quotes what Shah has said in the video. However, the tweet uses the hashtags: “#Vote4ModiJi #PhirEkBaarModiSarkar #AbkiBar400Paar”. These hashtags have been used by the BJP in their election campaigning materials.

Below are a few instances where campaigning posts were shared with visuals of the Ram Mandir.

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We also found several instances where the BJP UP’s X page made direct communal references calling the Opposition and their candidates anti-Sanatan (or anti-Hindu). One of the tweets uses the trope of ‘Hijab’ and ‘Mangalsutra’ in a clear attempt at exploiting communal feelings.

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BJP Bihar (@BJP4Bihar)

Voting was held in four constituencies of Bihar in Phase 1 and four other constituencies in the state on April 26.

On the morning of the second phase polling, the official X handle of BJP Bihar shared a tweet which said in Hindi: “If you do not want infiltrators to take over your rights, come out and vote for the NDA”. The image in the tweet also contained the same text alongside photos of PM Modi, Amit Shah and several other BJP leaders.

This came days after PM Modi referring to Muslims as infiltrators at a rally in Banswara, Rajasthan.

Earlier, on the morning of the phase 1 polling, BJP Bihar’s official X page had shared a tweet directly seeking votes in the name of the Ram Mandir. “Are you going to vote? While voting remember who constructed Ram Lalla’s temple,” it said.

Before Phase 1 elections, BJP Bihar shared visuals of the temple in Ayodhya and other temples at least seven times. It urged people to vote for the BJP saying that their votes had made the construction of the Ram Mandir possible.

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BJP West Bengal (@BJP4Bengal)

As early as in January 2024, the West Bengal state unit of the BJP had decided to use the Ram Mandir issue prominently in its general elections campaign. Accordingly, Bengal BJP carried out a door-to-door programme with the message: ‘Sabke Ram’ (Ram for everyone).

On April 21, two days after the MCC had come into effect, the official X page of BJP West Bengal shared a quote from Union defence minister Rajnath Singh’s public address in the state where he had said: “It is time for Ram Rajya to arrive in India”.

Following are a few times when BJP West Bengal sought votes for the party sharing the Ram Mandir visuals:

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BJP Rajasthan (@BJP4Rajasthan):

Rajasthan has been at the epicentre of poll code-violation controversies. Prime Minister Modi deliverd a speech at Banswara is southern Rajasthan on April 21 where he referred to Muslims living in India as ‘infiltrators’ and mocked them as “those who produce more kids.” He also indulged in scaremongering at the expense of Muslims by painting them as the devil out to devour the wealth of the country’s majority Hindus. Not just any wealth, but ‘mangalsutra’, a necklace worn by Indian brides, which carries religious connotations. The statements made by the Prime Minister in this speech appear to be in clear violation of points numbers 1 and 3 under the general conduct of MCC and the Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

Union home minister Amit Shah, too, used the Ram Mandir as a poll plank in his speech at Pali, Rajasthan, on April 19. He took a dig at Congress by saying that they had kept Ram Lalla in a tent for years and kept the matter of the temple hanging in uncertainty. Shah openly correlated electing Modi for the second time with the construction of the temple in Ayodhya. Congress did not accept the invitation for consecration because they were scared to lose minority votes, he added. He also listed out several temples in the country which Narendra Modi had prioritized and begun work on.

Below are a few more instances where the state unit of the BJP shared election campaign tweets using religious tropes and the Ram Mandir in general. It also shared parts of speeches by PM Modi, Amit Shah and Rajasthan CM Bhajan Lal Sharma where they had sought votes in the name of the Ram Mandir.

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BJP Uttarakhand (@BJP4UK)

BJP Uttarakhand’s official X page tweeted a clip from a public meeting of BJP National President JP Nadda and quoted his as saying, “Congress party has always been anti-Ram and anti-Sanatan.” Additionally, in the video, BJP leader Nadda further emphasizes that Congress has repeatedly tried to keep the Ram Mandir case hanging in uncertainty.

Below are a few more instances where BJP Uttarakhand directly used Ram Mandir for their campaigning.

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BJP Chhattisgarh (@BJP4CGState)

In his public address in Chhattisgarh, PM Modi tried to garner support for his party using religious sentiments around the construction of the Ram Mandir. He mentioned that Congress leader had not accepted the invitation to attend the consecration because Congress considered itself bigger than Ram. He asked the audience, “Isn’t it an insult towards our saints? And Chhattisgarh is Shree Ram’s maternal home. Isn’t this an insult directed at Chhattisgarh? (crowds shout yes in agreement)”. The Prime Minister openly used religion and references to a place of worship in his campaign speech.

Below, one can find several instances of BJP Chhattisgarh violating the MCC by using the Ram Mandir in campaign material.

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ECI Notice to BJP, Congress; Disqualification Plea for Modi in Delhi HC

On April 25, the Election Commission (ECI) of India sent a notice to the BJP regarding Prime Minister Modi’s speech at Banswara, Rajasthan, on April 21, where he had referred to Muslims as ‘infiltrators’ and claimed that the Congress had the intention of taking the wealth of the Hindus and distributing it among Muslims. This is the first time the ECI has taken cognisance of an MCC violation complaint against PM Modi and has asked the party for a response by 11 am on April 29. The ECI has also served a notice to Congress seeking responses to a complaint against Rahul Gandhi. These notices have been sent to respective party presidents and neither of the persons against whom the complaints had been filed were named in these notices.​

Besides, the Delhi high court will on Monday, April 29, hear a petition seeking to disqualify Prime Minister Narendra Modi for six years under The Representation of Peoples Act for allegedly seeking votes for the BJP in the name of Hindu and Sikh deities and place of worships in a speech in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit on April 9. The petitioner submitted that Modi had not only sought votes in the name of religious deities and places of worship, but also made comments against “opposite political parties as favoring Muslims.”

In the said speech, PM stated that it’s the people of the country who had made it possible to construct the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. The Opposition, he added, had always been against the temple and even used legal recourse to stop its construction. The Prime Minister then stated: “But even after that, the citizens of the country contributed to the construction of the temple and you (Opposition) were invited to attend the temple’s consecration. You declined the invitation and insulted Prabhu Ram. Their hearts are filled with such poison, the ones from their parties who came to the Pran Pratishtha (consecration) have been thrown out of the party for six years. How can this happen in Hindustan? How can someone be thrown out of a party for worshiping Ram? Never forget these sinners.” He then alleged that Congress had gone down the path of appeasement so far that it could never get out of it and the Congress manifesto, hence, looked like that of the Muslim League.


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