No Prime Minister so far and no other leader has been accused of directly/indirectly violating the poll Model Code of Conduct as Narendra Modi.
Today (Thursday, April 11) reports said that the Osmanabad District Election Officer (DEO) is learnt to have said in his report submitted to the Maharashtra Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) that Modi prima facie violated Election Commission’s orders prohibiting use of armed forces for political gains.
The Election Commission had yesterday banned release of a biopic on Modi that was slated for release today. It also, after initially banning it, ordered pre-certification of content on NaMo TV, a channel devoted to Modi’s speeches and campaigns. The poll panel is, however, yet to take a call on Modi invoking religion at Wardha on April 1 when he claimed that the Congress had been forced to contest from places dominated by the minority community as it had “insulted Hindus”.
Today, according to sources in the Maharashtra CEO office, the DEO’s report on PM’s Balakot remark as prima facie violation, along with his comments have been forwarded to the EC and the final call on the matter rests with the Commission, reported The Indian Express (IE).
Modi at an election rally in Latur on Tuesday appealed to all first-time voters to “dedicate” their votes to the “brave soldiers” who carried out the Balakot air strike and to the “braves martyred” in the Pulwama terror attack.
If the EC agrees with the Osmanabad DEO’s opinion, then Modi, for the first time, will be asked to explain his remarks for a prima facie violation of the Model Code of Conduct in an election after becoming the Prime Minister. EC officials indicated that a decision is likely this week, IE reported.
EC directions to political parties on invoking armed forces
On March 19, the poll panel had written to all political parties asking them to advise their leaders and candidates to “desist” from indulging in any political propaganda involving activities of defence forces as part of their campaign.
Earlier on March 9, the Commission had issued a similar advisory to political parties asking them to not use photographs of defence personnel or photographs of functions involving defence personnel in advertisements or their election propaganda.
Addressing the rally in Ausa, Modi had said: “Mein zara kehna chhahta hoon mere first-time voteron ko. Kya aapka pehla vote Pakistan ke Balakot mein air strike karnewale veer jawanon ke naam samarpit ho sakta hai kya? Mein mere first-time voter se kehna chhahta hoon ki aapka pehla vote Pulwama mein jo veer shahid hue hain un veer shahidon ke naam aapka vote samarpit ho sakta hai kya?” (“I want to tell my first-time voters: Can your first vote be dedicated to the brave soldiers who carried out the air strike in Balakot in Pakistan? I want to tell my first-time voters: Can your first vote be dedicated to the braves martyred in Pulwama?”).
He said New India will not hesitate to give a befitting reply to Pakistan: “Yeh ghusega bhi aur marega bhi (It will enter and strike).”
“What can be more sacrosanct than giving your first vote to the nation. Exercise your discretion, and make a distinction on who can serve the motherland,” he said.
In Chitradurga and Mysuru, the Prime Minister said the Balakot air strike and test of an anti-satellite missile by the DRDO are examples of a “strong government’’ and accused the Congress and other Opposition parties of “catering to vote banks” in Pakistan by questioning the air and space strikes. He labelled the Congress “anti-soldier and anti-scientists’’.
“Earlier our braves used to seek permission for action but the governments of the time used to quake with fear and sit. But this chowkidar has changed the situation. Now if there is fear, then it is on the other side of the border. Now the people who are in power over there are having nightmares of all kinds. Those who used to threaten are silent. The terrorists are in the grip of fear as a result of the Balakot strikes,’’ he told a rally in Chitradurga.
In Mysuru, the PM said: “All terrorist attacks that have occurred in India are linked to Pakistan but Congress leaders have raised the bogey of Hindu terror all the time. When our soldiers attacked terrorists for the first time in Pakistan, they started asking for evidence. Their thoughts on Kashmir are the same as that of Pakistan.’’
Hours after the Prime Minister’s speech, the CPM approached the Election Commission alleging that Modi violated specific EC directions that asked parties to refrain from invoking the armed forces for votes.
“With deep anguish we are drawing your attention to the latest violation of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi,” CPM Politburo Nilotpal Basu wrote in a letter to CEC Sunil Arora.
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh wrote to the EC on Wednesday seeking action against PM Modi for violating the model code of conduct by invoking the Balakot air strikes and the Pulwama terror attack during a speech in Maharashtra.
Following this, EC had asked a report from the state chief electoral officer. “The references are there in the videos and everyone has seen it. We have sent a factual report on the PM’s speech,” said an official.