Didn’t help provide inputs to PMO, Niti Aayog tells Election Commission
Federal think tank NITI Aayog has told the Election Commission that allegations levelled by the Opposition parties that it helped provide inputs to the Prime Minister’s Office in advance about the places he was set to campaign are unfounded.
According to people aware of the developments, NITI Aayog in response to a notice issued to it by the poll panel on May 4 has said that the allegations made against it are not correct. The think tank’s reply will now be put before the full commission.
Both the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party had complained to the poll panel that the think-tank was being used by the Prime Minister’s Office for election purposes, citing media reports.
According to the official quoted above a notice was sent to the think tank to assess if it violated the model code of conduct that prohibits the use of government machinery for electioneering purposes. Only the Prime Minister is exempted from the provision that bars ministers from combining official visits with electioneering.
This is the second instance of a notice being sent by the poll panel to NITI Aayog. Earlier, in March, the commission sought an explanation from NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar for his criticism of Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s poll promise of providing minimum basic income guarantee. The EC has also pulled up both the BJP as well as Bahujan Samaj Party candidates from Chandigarh for using children in their poll campaigns. BJP’s Kirron Kher as well as BSP’s Praveen Tank have been warned to not do so in the future