Dog held for flouting India polls rules

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during an election campaign rally at Kathua district, south of Jammu city, the winter capital of India-controlled Kashmir, April 14, 2019. Xinhua/Stringer

MUMBAI (AFP) – A pet pooch was detained for flouting India’s election rules after it was spotted parading slogans supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi outside polling stations – but “let off with a warning”, authorities said Tuesday.

Police seized the dog and its owner in the western state of Maharashtra on Monday just as voting was under way on the fourth voting day of India’s mammoth election that runs to May 19.

“We detained the dog and its owner as it was a polling day and they were walking around promoting Modi and violating election campaigning rules,” police official Ganpat Phil told AFP.

Campaigning is banned on voting days in areas that are casting ballots.

A complaint was filed under India’s penal code against owner Eknath Chaudhary for the sticker and placards stating “Modi Lao, Desh Bachchao” (“Bring Modi back, save the country”), Phil said.

The dog and the owner were released in the town of Nandurbar on Monday evening and “let off with a warning,” the official added.

Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party are favourites to retain power following the election, results of which are due May 23.

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