Election Commission gives clean chit to PM Modi’s Latur speech invoking Balakot air strike

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Updated: May 2, 2019 8:35:26 AM

On April 9, PM Modi while addressing an election rally in Latur, made an appeal to first-time voters to dedicate their vote to Pulwama martyrs and to the soldiers who carried out air strike in Pakistan's Balakot.

Election Commission’s second clean chit to PM Narendra Modi in last 24 hours

The Election Commission has given a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his speech in Maharashtra’s Latur on April 9. This was the second case in the last 24 hours where Modi was given a clean chit by the poll body. Earlier, the ECI had cleared Modi for his speech in Wardha in which he had slammed Congress president Rahul Gandhi for contesting from Wayanad in Kerala and indicated that the constituency had more voters from the minority community.

The Election Commission had received several complaints against Modi for allegedly violating the model code of conduct by seeking votes in name of armed forces while addressing an election rally in Latur on April 9. The political parties had urged the ECI to take action against Modi which they said violates the commission’s advisory to the political parties to desist from indulging in any propaganda involving activities of the defence forces.

The poll body took cognisance of the complaints and sought a detailed report from the Maharashtra Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) and the Osmanabad District Electoral Officer (DEO). A certified transcript of Modi’s speech was submitted to the Election Commission on April 16. According to a report in The Indian Express, the commission went against the opinion of the Maharashtra Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) and the Osmanabad District Electoral Officer (DEO). They Maharashtra CEO and Osmanabad DEO had found Modi’s speech inconsistent with the commission’s instructions prohibiting the use of armed forces for political gains during the elections.

The Election Commission in its clean chit said that the matter has been examined in detail in accordance with the extant advisories, provisions of the model code of conduct. The commission said that Modi did not seek votes for either his party or himself while invoking the Balakot air strikes.

“After examination of the complete transcript of the speech of 11 pages, as per the certified copy sent by the Returning Officer, 40-Osmanabad parliamentary constituency, the Commission is of the considered view that in this matter no such violation of the extant advisories/provisions is attracted,” the ECI order said.

On April 9, addressing an election rally in Latur, PM Modi had made an appeal to first-time voters to dedicate their vote to Pulwama martyrs and to the soldiers who carried out the air strike in Balakot.

“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),” he had said.

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