The Election Commission may add fuel to political controversy over legacy of Sardar Vallabbhai Patel as it was looking at seeking explanation from the Central and Gujarat governments over use of public money for politically laced advertisements.
Both the Central and Gujarat government had come out with advertisements before the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel eulogising his achievements and also trying to send a political message on his legacy. The advertisements were issued before inauguration of Vallabbhai Patel museum in Gujarat and before his birth anniversary.
The Centre claimed that Patel was working in building modern India and was a true nationalist. The Gujarat government, on the other hand, had been saying that Patel did not receive his due from the Central government.
These advertisements would have gone without notice if it would not have been politically charged atmosphere. These ads created a lot of buzz and became a talking point on social media.
That is not concern of the election commission. Officials say the commission is looking at whether public money was used for sending a political message during the time of elections in five states. The model code of conduct prohibits use of public money for political purpose by the party in power during elections.
"We are examining the issue and have sought details from our officials," a senior EC official said. Till recent times, legacy of Patel had not been debated as it had been since BJP announced Narendra Modi as its Prime Ministerial candidate.
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi went to the extent of saying India regrets that Patel was not the first prime minister of India. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had retorted by saying that Patel was a secular leader and he was proud to be a member of a political party with whom he was associated.