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EC gives clean chit to Narendra Modi over reference to Abhinandan Varthaman; sixth such decision in recent past

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Saturday gave a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Gujarat speech in which he had claimed that the Indian government had kept Pakistan on its toes to ensure the safe return of its pilot.

This is the sixth clean chit to Modi by the poll watchdog.

It was not immediately clear whether the decision on the 21 April Patan speech was unanimous.

 EC gives clean chit to Narendra Modi over reference to Abhinandan Varthaman; sixth such decision in recent past

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a poll rally. Twitter/@BJP4India

One of the election commissioners, according to sources, gave a dissenting view in the EC's  decision to give a clean chit to Modi with regard to his speech at Wardha on 1 April, where he attacked Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for contesting from the minority-dominated Wayanad seat in Kerala, and his appeal to first-time voters by invoking the Balakot airstrike and the CRPF jawans killed in the Pulwama terror attack on 9 April.

He had also reportedly given dissent in the clean chit to BJP president Amit Shah for his Nagpur speech in which he had reportedly said that Wayanad constituency of Kerala is where majority is minority.

In its Saturday's decision, the EC said, "...detailed report of the chief electoral officer, Gujarat was obtained. The matter has been examined in detail in accordance with the extant advisories, provisions of the model code of conduct. After examination, commission is of the view that in this matter no such violation of the extant advisories/provisions is attracted."

In his Patan speech, Modi had reportedly said that he had warned Pakistan of "consequences" if it did not return Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured after an aerial dogfight with Pakistani F-16s that had violated Indian airspace and targeted military installations in February.

Pakistan released Varthaman on the night of 1 March. Modi also spoke of a United States claim that India had kept 12 missiles ready.

So far, the EC has cleared six speeches of Modi, two of Shah and one of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.

Gandhi had been issued a show cause notice for his Madhya Pradesh speech in which he had reportedly said that the government enacted a new law which allows tribals to be shot.

On 19 March, the EC had issued an advisory asking parties not to invoke armed forces in their political campaign.

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Updated Date: May 04, 2019 23:45:47 IST