NEW DELHI — The Election Commission Wednesday concluded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in Latur last month in which he had urged first time voters to dedicate their votes in the name of the Balakot air strike heroes and the soldiers killed in the Pulwama attack, is not violative of its instructions on invoking armed forces in poll campaigns.
It also found that Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s remarks on defence forces were not violative of the model code.
Attacking the prime minister, Kamal Nath had on 14 April said that even when Modi was a child, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi had built the country’s defence forces. He was addressing a rally at Harsud in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh.
Referring to the prime minister’s statement in Latur, the commission said, “The matter has been examined in detail in accordance with the extant advisories, provisions of the Model Code of Conduct and after examination of complete transcript of speech of 11 pages as per the certified copy sent by the Returning Officer, Osmanabad parliamentary constituency. Commission is of the considered view that in this matter no such violation of the extant advisories/provisions is attracted.”
Addressing a rally in Ausa in Maharashtra’s Latur on April 9, Modi had said, “Can your first vote be dedicated to those who carried out the air strike.”
“I want to tell the first-time voters: can your first vote be dedicated to the veer jawans (valiant soldiers) who carried out the air strike in Pakistan. Can your first vote be dedicated to the veer shaheed (brave martyrs) of Pulwama (terror attack),” Modi had said.
Local poll authorities in Maharashtra are learnt to have told the EC here that Modi’s remarks are prima facie violative of its orders, asking parties against using the armed forces in their campaigns.
The EC had sought the report in the context of the EC advisory issued in March asking parties to desist from indulging in political propaganda involving actions of the armed forces.
”... Parties/candidates are advised that their campaigners/candidates should desist, as part of their election campaigning, from indulging in any political propaganda involving activities of defence forces,” the commission said on March 19.
Since the Congress had approached EC in this regard, a response has also been sent to the party.
On Tuesday, the EC had said that Modi had not violated the model code in his speech in Wardha on April 1 in which he had slammed Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for contesting from Wayanad and had indicated that the Kerala constituency had more voters from the minority community.