GUWAHATI: Supreme Court lawyer and convener of Prabajan Virodhi Manch (PVM), Upamannyu Hazarika on Friday urged the Election Commission of India (ECI) to register a case against BJP leader and minister of state for health and family welfare Pijush Hazarika for violating the model code of conduct (MCC) by allegedly threatening local scribes.
Controversy against Hazarika erupted on Thursday after an audio clip conversation allegedly between the minister and a scribe from Morigaon has gone viral. In the clip, the minister was allegedly threatening the two scribes for reporting a ‘controversial’ poll speech by his wife.
Already the scribe has filed a complaint with Morigaon police. On Thursday, the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) also moved the chief electoral officer (CEO) Assam’s office to take prompt and necessary action against Hazarika to disqualify his candidature from the ongoing assembly election.
Hazarika said, “Hazarika has not only disobeyed the oath taken by him as a minister, he in the conversation has also threatened individuals and used words intending to hurt religious feelings. Complaint lodged by the victim scribe was not enough and the ECI must take cognizance of the incident and take suo motto action.”
Across the state, various journalist unions have lodged complaints against Hazarika and demanded his unconditional apology. The Guwahati Press Club (GPC) in a statement said, “While condemning the act of intimidation in the strongest words is further of the opinion that it is very unbecoming of a public representative to threaten a journalist of dire consequences, no matter what. At a time when the protection of journalists has become a cause of concern, such an uncalled-for attitude by a public representative comes as a shocker.”
GPC general secretary, Sanjoy Ray, said, “If he had any complaint related to the content or authenticity of any news report, he could have approached the appropriate authorities for redressal. Such a ‘power-drunk attitude on the part of Hazarika has taken politicking to a new low and appropriate action should be taken against the minister by the EC after verifying the authenticity of the audio clip that had gone viral in the social media.”