India's poll panel seeks responses to complaints against Modi, Rahul Gandhi

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's Election Commission said on Thursday it has sought responses from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress on alleged violations of poll rules by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and opposition leader Rahul Gandhi.

India is holding the world's largest election over seven phases, with votes due to be counted on June 4.

In their complaints to the commission, the BJP accused Gandhi and Congress accused Modi of making divisive speeches on religion, caste and linguistic issues, notices from the panel said.

Modi, who is seeking a rare third consecutive term, referred to Muslims as "infiltrators" and "those who have more children" during a campaign speech on Sunday, drawing widespread criticism from opposition groups and a complaint from Congress to the poll panel.

The BJP has said in its complaint that Gandhi sought to create divisions based on linguistic and cultural issues.

The election panel has sought responses from BJP president J.P. Nadda and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge by April 29.

(Reporting by Shivam Patel and Krishn Kaushik in New Delhi; Editing by YP Rajesh)