Narendra Modi arrives in Dehradun for military conference, Election Commission warns against influencing voters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reached Dehradun to hold the Combined Commanders' Conference in the capital city of poll-bound Uttarakhand. The conference will bring the top commanders of the three forces and senior officers of the government to discuss the security scenario in the country and decide upon the future course of action.

Narendra Modi is in Dehradun for the Combined Commanders Conference. PTI

Narendra Modi is in Dehradun for the Combined Commanders Conference. PTI

Modi is expected to spend nearly six hours at the conference. However, with the Model Code of Conduct already in place in Uttarakhand, the Election Commission has warned the Ministry of Defence from combining the visit with any media related activities.

The EC had also said, in a letter to the Defence Secretary, that no announcement about serving or retired servicemen be made which can influence voters.

The EC conditions had come after the Indian National Congress complained to the Commission that the Bharatiya Janata Party may use the event to influence former and serving defence personnel to gain an upper hand in the five poll-bound states — Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Punjab and Goa.

According to The Indian Express, "Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat had slammed Modi saying that 'in the pretext of government works the Prime Minister should avoid visiting those states that are going to election. It is not a good tradition.'"

The EC gave "no objection" to holding the conference on Friday at Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, however, it said that the dignitaries attending the conference should "observe certain conditions".

"The official visit shall not be combined with any public media briefing, media interaction, press release, announcement in connection with serving soldiers or ex-servicemen, which may affect the voters in five poll going states, including Uttarakhand, should be made," it said asking the Defence Secretary to ensure compliance.

The conference is usually held every year and inaugurated by the prime minister, but this is the first time it is being held at the IMA in Dehradun.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Jan 21, 2017 10:35 AM

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