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PM Modi’s speech on Mission Shakti didn’t violate model code of conduct: Election Commission

The commission, which had asked three officers to look into a complaint by CPM’s Sitaram Yechury, said it concurred with the report that Doordarshan had only used the feed provided by news agency ANI and did not spend any additional money.

lok sabha elections Updated: Mar 30, 2019 06:45 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public meeting for election campaigns ahead of Lok Sabha polls, in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, Friday, March 29, 2019. (PTI file photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s televised address on Mission Shakti did not violate model code of conduct, the Election Commission said on Friday evening. The commission, which had asked five officers to look into a complaint by CPM’s Sitaram Yechury, said it concurred with the findings of the committee that there had been no violation of the model code of conduct.

The model code is designed to ensure that the party in power does not get an unfair advantage in campaigning and influencing voters. The code is routinely invoked to prevent the political executive from promising financial grants, large projects or making ad-hoc government appointments.

In this case, the commission evaluated if the government had misused the official mass media Doordarshan and All India Radio “for partisan coverage of political news and publicity’. Doordarshan, however, told the committee that “the telecast of the Prime Minister’s address on 27 March was not live” and it had only played out the feed received from news agency ANI.

Election Commission officials had indicated right at the beginning that the government did not need to take permission to make security-related announcements.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh had made it clear in an interview to Hindustan Times that PM Modi’s address to the nation in which he announced that India had joined an elite club of nations by acquiring the ability to shoot down satellites in low earth orbit.

In an interview to news channel Republic Bharat, Prime Minister Modi also rebutted criticism from the opposition camp against his speech, underlining that the government does not come to a grinding halt just because the country is in election mode.

“A lot of planning is needed before an event like the Anti-satellite missile test... So for us, this was the time that came. These are not things which you can plan for beforehand. These things have to be done quickly,” he told the news channel.

First Published: Mar 29, 2019 21:43 IST