Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Pune on November 13 has come under the scanner of the Election Commission of India as the model code of conduct is in force due to the Legislative Council elections.
The Prime Minister is to attend International Conference on Sugar at Vasantdada Sugar Institute at Mangri Budruk in Pune district on November 13. On the same day he would also address BJP workers at a public gathering.
When asked about the poll code in force for the November 19 Legislative Council elections, an ECI official said it had asked the PM’s office and BJP only to follow the model code of conduct, i.e., not to make any announcement that will influence the voters.
Pune Collector Saurabh Rao has instructed the Election Returning Officer (ERO) for Pune Local Authorities Constituency to follow the poll code provisions.
In his letter, the Collector has drawn the ERO’s attention to the provisions of the poll code that entail that - “ministers, whether central or state (including Chief Minister) can make official visit to any district(s) in which any biennial/bye-election from a council constituency is being held subject to the following conditions – official visit shall not be combined with the election related work/tour.”
The ERO had sought clarification on whether permission could be granted for PM’s public meeting.
District Guardian Minister and state Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Girish Bapat and Pune BJP chief Yogesh Gogawale too had on October 28 sought permission from the Collector for the public address by the PM.
The ECI official said the poll body merely drew attention to the requirement that the code of conduct is not violated by making any announcements amounting to inducement to voters.