‘Narrow interpretation’: Sitaram Yechury on Election Commission’s clean chit to PM Modi’s address
On Friday, the election commission had given the prime minister a clean chit saying that his televised address on Mission Shakti did not violate the model code of conduct.Updated: Mar 30, 2019 17:59 IST
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Saturday joined issues with the Election Commission’s clean chit to the Prime Minister on the matter of his address to the nation regarding Mission Shakti.
In a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury wrote that the the commission’s finding was a “narrow interpretation of the complaint” made by him.
In the letter, Yechury wrote, that since the “ECI has confined itself exclusively to the issue of misuse of official media”, he asked it to “direct the official media to treat speeches/statements made by leaders of recognised national parties in a similar manner as they have treated this speech of the Prime Minister”.
On Friday, the election commission had given the prime minister a clean chit saying that his televised address on Mission Shakti did not violate the model code of conduct.
On Wednesday, the PM had briefed the nation about India’s entry into the elite club of nations with capability to hit targets in space.
In his letter on Saturday, Yechury said that the prime minister was a candidate in the ensuing elections and by making the announcement, he was “using the office of the prime minister to convey a development achieved by our scientists during the election campaign.”
“This,” he said, “constitutes a gross misuse of the office for furthering electoral objectives.
He said that soon after the speech, the prime minister had gone on record to say that he was the chowkidar “not only on land and air, but also in outer space”.
“The Prime Minister and other leaders of the BJP are actively campaigning saying that this government has shown the guts which previous governments did not. What else does this mean but a gross misuse of the office of the Prime Minister for seeking electoral gains,” Yechury wrote, adding that an announcement of this nature was normally done by senior officers of the establishment like the Director DRDO.
Saying that the PM’s speech was a “gross misuse of the office of the Prime Minister for partisan ends”, Yechury reminded the ECI that it was “constitutionally mandated under Article 324 to conduct a free and fair election”.