EC absolves Narendra Modi of MCC violation regarding 'Mission Shakti' address; says PM didn't appeal for votes, mention BJP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech on 'Mission Shakti' did not violate the Model Code of Conduct, the EC announced on Friday, even as the Opposition had accused the prime minister of violations and 'publicity mongering'.

FP Staff March 29, 2019 11:19:42 IST
EC absolves Narendra Modi of MCC violation regarding 'Mission Shakti' address; says PM didn't appeal for votes, mention BJP
  • Narendra Modi's speech on 'Mission Shakti' did not violate the Model Code of Conduct, the Election Commission announced on Friday

  • The EC committee headed by Deputy Election Commissioner in charge of the MCC division Sandeep Saxena came to the conclusion that Modi did not mention the BJP, nor did he appeal for votes

  • The MCC has been enforced since the EC announced the dates for Lok Sabha election 2019 on 10 March

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech on 'Mission Shakti' did not violate the Model Code of Conduct, the Election Commission announced on Friday, even as the Opposition had accused the prime minister of violations and "publicity mongering".

The EC committee headed by Deputy Election Commissioner in charge of the MCC division Sandeep Saxena came to the conclusion that Modi's speech did not violate the guidelines because "he did not mention the BJP, nor did he appeal for votes" in the duration of his address. The MCC has been enforced since the EC announced the dates for Lok Sabha election 2019 on 10 March.

EC absolves Narendra Modi of MCC violation regarding Mission Shakti address says PM didnt appeal for votes mention BJP

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Twitter @BJP4India

On Wednesday, the prime minister, in an address broadcast over television, radio and social media to the nation said that India has become the fourth nation in the world to achieve the feat of sending an anti-satellite missile to space, as part of its Mission Shakti. "India today occupied its place in the space power group. A little while ago, our scientists sent an anti-satellite weapon, A-SAT, into space and it has successfully targeted a live satellite on a low earth orbit," Modi said.

The committee was formed after protests from Opposition leaders like Congress president Rahul Gandhi and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee. They had accused him of indulging in theatrics and "playing politics" over scientists' achievements following his address. They accused the prime minister of violating the MCC saying that he "highlighted an achievement" of the government and also that the issue was not necessarily related to national security.

Ahead of the decision, Saxena was quoted by reports as saying, "The matter requires proper analysis. It has three aspects — law, media and the poll code. We have collected information and we are going into the entirely to see whether there was violation. By tomorrow (Friday), there will be a decision." Saxena had also said that the Prime Minister’s Office had neither informed nor asked the EC for permission about the announcement.

However, sources in the poll panel had initially told PTI that issues related to national security and disaster management do not fall under the ambit of the model code. As part of its evaluation, the panel was to go through the video and the transcript of the address.

Saxena on Thursday also told a media briefing that the poll watchdog had sought details from Doordarshan and All India Radio about the source of feed of the prime minister's address. The two broadcasters responded and the EC is examining their response "in the light of what we want to know".

The Election Commission's MCC guidelines, among other things, prohibit the party in power from using public money to publicise achievements. It says, "Issue of advertisement at the cost of public exchequer in the newspapers and other media and the misuse of official mass media during the election period for partisan coverage of political news and publicity regarding achievements with a view to furthering the prospects of the party in power shall be scrupulously avoided."

With inputs from PTI

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