The Election Commission on Wednesday said it has ordered a committee of officers to examine whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement about an anti-satellite missile violated the Model Code of Conduct.
“The matter related to the address of the prime minister to the nation on electronic media today afternoon has been brought to the notice of the Election Commission of India,” the poll body’s official spokesperson Sheyphali Sharan tweeted. “The commission has directed a Committee of Officers to examine the matter immediately in the light of Model Code of Conduct.”
Opposition parties had criticised Modi’s address to the nation earlier in the day, calling it a violation of the code of conduct. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the Trinamool Congress will approach the poll body against the speech. She added that scientists from the Defence should have announced the launch, not Modi.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) wrote to the Election Commission earlier in the day, alleging that the prime minister had violated the Model Code of Conduct. “This announcement comes in the midst of the ongoing election campaign where the PM himself is a candidate,” the party wrote. “This is clearly a violation of the Model Code of Conduct.”
Unidentified Election Commission officials had told PTI earlier in the day that the speech did not violate the code of conduct, because matters related to national security and disaster management are outside its ambit.
The Model Code of Conduct came into force on March 10, after the Election Commission announced the dates for the Lok Sabha polls. The poll body said the elections will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19, with the results announced on May 23.