A panel set up by the Election Commission has not found any violations of the Model Code of Conduct in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of the successful test of an anti-satellite missile on Wednesday. The panel submitted its report on Friday.
The panel, headed by Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena, said in its report that it was told by officials from public broadcaster Doordarshan that the telecast of Modi’s speech was not live and was sourced from ANI news agency. Officials of All India Radio told the panel that the radio channel had used Doordarshan’s audio output, and no production activity was involved from its side.
The panel said that these submissions showed that Para (IV) of Part VII of the Model Code of Conduct had not been violated. The paragraph prohibits advertisements at the cost of the public exchequer to further the prospects of the party in power.
On Wednesday, Modi had announced that India had shot down a live satellite in space and had become the fourth country to do so. He called it Mission Shakti. Opposition parties congratulated the scientists responsible for the launch but criticised the government for the manner of the announcement as it came just weeks before the Lok Sabha elections are set to begin.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury had filed a complaint with the Election Commission, alleging that the speech violated the Model Code of Conduct. The poll body then decided to set up the panel to look into the matter immediately.
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.