New Delhi: The Congress Party, which is in slugfest with other political parties in seven phased Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, has trained its gun against the Election Commission over the issue of violation of Model Code of Conduct (MCC). With preparing to challenge the FIR filed by Returning Officer of Kanpur against Gandhi scion Rahul Gandhi over the violation of Model Code of Conduct, the Congress is planning to trim the powers of the Commission.

Highly placed sources said a Group of Ministers (GoM) has already prepared an agenda to scrap the Model Code of Conduct from the jurisdiction of the EC. However, amid Opposition’s stern reservation on the issue, the Congress has denied preparing any such draft but suggested that the matter may be considered under electoral reforms if other parties agree on it.

While challenging the EC by violating the code of conduct, Union ministers Salman Khursid and Beni Prasad Verma made it aptly clear that for them politics comes first and restraint later. The Congress’ attack on the EC became more stringent after an FIR was registered against Rahul Gandhi for violating EC code. Now they are planning to drag the EC to the High Court as Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal and party general secretary Digvijaya Singh have already announced this.

However the Ministry of Personnel has denied of any proposal for scrapping the jurisdiction of the EC by providing a statutory status to the model code of conduct. Union Finance Minster Pranab Mukherjee said, “The agenda has nothing to do with the scrapping of EC jurisdiction. I do not know from where the episode came from.”

Commenting on the issue, Kapil Sibal said, “I am on the concerned GoM, but am not aware of any such information.”

Whereas Khursid opined that the GoM reached at the consensus to discuss the poll reforms after completion of assembly polls. The Commission itself proposed several reforms. The proposed agenda does not mention the issue of giving EC guidelines a statutory status. At the same time the Union Law Minister indicated that it might be possible.

Clearing the party stand on the issue, Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said, “The Model Code of Conduct should be given a legal status. In that case, the decision will lie with court instead of the EC.”

Expressing stern opposition on the issue, the EC said the political parties seem to scrap the jurisdiction of constitutional body. Chief Election Commissioner SY Qureshi said, “If the court is empowered to decide whether a candidate has violated the code or not, the issue will get dragged in the court for years and the accused will continue to enjoy power.”  Such efforts will have an adverse effect on the conduct of free and fare elections, added Qureshi.

"The Congress’ stand is very clear. We have never attempted directly or indirectly to bring disrepute to the EC or try to challenge the authority. We believe in the institution unlike BJP.

To generalise in a statement, it is purely due to political motives," said Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi.