STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
New Delhi, 11 November
As the Congress and BJP battle it out over who made the Capital polio-free, the former today moved the Election Commission against the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, Dr Harsh Vardhan, for making “false and distorted claims” on his role in the polio campaign when he was the Health Minister of Delhi.
“The advertisements issued by the BJP and Harsh Vardhan are not only distorted but are contrary to the official records regarding polio cases in Delhi. Such a false claim during the operation of Model Code of Conduct is not permitted,” the All India Congress Committee said in a communication to Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Deo.
A copy of the complaint has also been sent to the Chief Election Commissioner, Mr V S Sampath, by the AICC Legal Department secretary, Mr K C Mittal. The Congress said all ads campaign material that show that Harsh Vardhan made Delhi polio-free should be stopped and removed from the city.
The Congress said Dr Vardhan has been campaigning for himself and his party through such advertisements. They are “continuously being broadcast” on FM radio and are “false, misleading and in violation of the Model Code of Conduct” the ruling party said.
The Congress charged that the claim belies the records as Harsh Vardhan was Health Minister of Delhi prior to 1998.
“It is revealed from the records that in 1998 there were 47 polio cases and in 1999 the number was 73. This by itself would show that his claim is false and misleading,” the Congress said in the letter.
It said had Delhi been made polio free by BJP in 1998, then the number cases in 1998-1999 would have been nil.
“Even in 1999 the number of cases came to be 73 because of the earlier mismanagement by them. Contrary to his claim, the track record from 2000 onwards would show that the Congress government in Delhi successfully made Delhi polio free,” the party said citing figures.
The Congress claimed that except in 2002 when there were 24 polio cases, from 2001 to 2009 the cases were less than seven.
“The significant decline in the number of polio cases was due to the efforts of the Congress Government. More significantly, from 2010 onwards until 2012 the polio cases in Delhi came to be zero," the party’s letter to the EC said.