Kirron Kher apologies for using children in poll campaign

Chandigarh’s sitting MP and BJP candidate Kirron Kher has apologised after one of her aides used children for election campaigning.

At an interaction with the Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) at Chandigarh Press Club on Saturday, Kher said whatever happened was “wrong”.

“Somebody sent us the video. My team shared it without seeing it. I feel sorry for it. It should not have happened. Kids should not be involved in campaigning,” she said.

But her rival Pawan Bansal of the Congress was not willing to let go easily and flayed Kher for her conduct.

“It is a clear violation of the model code of conduct and the Election Commission’s directions,” said Bansal.

He said his party has submitted a formal complaint to the EC in this regard. “We hope the EC doesn’t take up this case the way complaints against Modi and Shah were being dealt with in which no action was taken,” he said.

On Friday, Kher had shared an 8-second video on her Twitter handle in which Mahesh Inder Singh Sidhu, party councillor and her close aide, was seen coaxing kids to seek votes for her. In the video, the children were seen wearing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s masks and raising “Ab Ki Bar Modi Sarkar” slogans after making an appeal to vote for Kher.

Endorsing the video, Kher went on to add that “Abhi subhey subhay hi Mahesh Inder ne ye video bheja hai. Chandigarh ke bache bache ko pata hai #Aayega to Modi hi”.

The EC was quick to issue her a notice on Friday itself.

HT accessed Kher’s one-page reply submitted to the EC on Saturday evening in which she promised that this will not happen in her election campaign in future.

She said instructions have been given to all those handling her election campaign and social

media accounts to ensure that the guidelines of the EC are followed strictly.

She claimed that the video which she shared on Twitter was neither filmed by her nor she had given consent to circulate it. “I found that the video was randomly shot by one of the party workers who came across children during campaigning. They were voluntarily repeating the common slogans being used in the party’s election campaigning,” she said.

She further said that the moment the matter came to her knowledge the video was immediately removed from her Twitter handle.

“The video was never meant to be used for any political purpose,” Kher claimed

Meanwhile, her aide Mahesh Inder Sidhu, councillor from Ward 1 (from Sector 1 to 11), claimed in his reply that the video was shot with no intent to use it for poll campaigning. “I assure that it will not be repeated in future,” he said.

The election commission will seek report from the district media certification and monitoring committee on whether Kher had deleted the video from her Twitter handle, before taking a final call on this matter. Sources said the EC is expected to take a call on this matter by Monday.

First Published:
May 05, 2019 13:10 IST

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