NEW DELHI (AFP) - India's election commission charged Rahul Gandhi with breaching its code of conduct Friday after the ruling Congress party's frontman in ongoing polls allegedly warned that an opposition victory would trigger carnage.
Following a complaint by the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the commission wrote to Gandhi saying he appeared to have the broken the code in a speech in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh on May 1 and gave him until Monday to respond.
The commission said it had studied video footage sent in by the BJP that appeared to show Gandhi telling supporters that "if there is BJP, 22,000 people will die, because they spread anger".
"The Commission is, prima facie, of the opinion that by making the aforesaid statement you have violated the abovesaid provisions of the Model Code of Conduct," it said in a letter to Gandhi posted on its website.
In the letter, the commission reminded Gandhi that the code specifically banned candidates from making accusations "based on unverified allegations or distortion".
Monday is the final day of voting in the marathon election which has been marred by often bitter exchanges between Gandhi's Congress and the right-wing Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi's BJP.
Modi is the favourite to win the polls when results are announced next Friday, but he has come in for widespread criticism from rivals over his refusal to apologise for communal riots 12 years ago in his western fiefdom of Gujarat.
More than 1,000 people mainly Muslims died in the riots which erupted soon after Modi came to power in the state.
The BJP leader has never been found guilty of any wrongdoing.