Lok Sabha elections 2019: Rs 3000 crore haul by Election Commission, highest in Lok Sabha polls
As campaigning for the final leg of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections came to a close on Friday, the Election Commission declared seizures worth Rs 3439 crore from across the country, making highest ever during a parliamentary election. In 2014, EC made seizures worth Rs 1,200 crore.
While Tamil Nadu , with seizures of Rs 950 crore topped the list, Gujarat came a close second with seizures of Rs 552 crore followed by Delhi with Rs 426 crore. The poll body also received around 500 complaints of violations of the model code of conduct against parties and candidates since March 10, of which around half a dozen were against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He was cleared in all instances.
The poll body, which came in for severe criticism from political parties over its decision to clear the PM and BJP president Amit Shah of charges of violating MCC, for the first time invoked powers under Article 324 of the Constitution to countermand a LS polls in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore on charges of bribery, and also cut short by 19 hours, the campaigning in West Bengal after the campaign turned violent.
EC was also at the centre of a controversy when it was asked to take a call on the release of a biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After the opposition alleged that this would breach the poll code, the EC put the biopic’s release on hold till after counting on May 23.
The commission also barred candidates including Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, former UP chief minister and BSP supremo Mayawati, SP leader Azam Khan and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu from campaigning for a stipulated period after finding them guilty of violating MCC. Another first in this election season was the takedown of posts on social media platforms that were perceived to vitiate the poll process. Since the beginning of MCC on March 10, as many as 645 Facebook posts, 160 Tweets, 31 Sharechat posts, five Google posts and three WhatsApp messages were taken down following complaints to EC.
The use of 1.11 million VVPAT or paper trail machines at all polling stations across the country was a first as well as a challenge for the poll body.
Ahead of Sunday’s final phase, the commission is expected to take a call on cases of MCC violations against PM Modi, Congress Rahul Gandhi and the BJP’s Bhopal candidate Pragya Thakur, who stoked a controversy by dubbing Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse as a patriot.