Election authorities in Barmer district of Rajasthan on Monday said they have submitted a factual report to the Election Commission after looking into the Congress’ allegation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “brazenly violated” the poll code by repeatedly invoking the armed forces at an rally in the district on April 21, PTI reported.
At the rally, Modi had said that India does not get scared of Pakistan’s nuclear strike threats anymore. “Every other day they used to say, ‘We have nuclear button, we have nuclear button’,” the prime minister had said. “What do we have then? Have we kept it for Diwali?”
Following the complaint by the Congress the following day, the Election Commission had sought a report on the prime minister’s address. “The report has been forwarded with the copy of PM’s speech as per the direction of the commission,” said district election officer Himanshu Gupta.
This is not the first instance of the ruling party invoking the armed forces during the campaign for these Lok Sabha elections. On April 18, the Election Commission warned Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi for referring to the defence forces as “Modi ji ki Sena [Narendra Modi’s Army]” and asked him to be careful in the future. This came a few days after a warning was issued to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath for making the same remark.
Apart from the Opposition parties, military veterans have also complained about such speeches made by BJP leaders. On April 12, more than 150 veterans of the Indian armed forces wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind, urging him to stop the politicisation of the military during election campaigns. The letter urged Kovind to “take all necessary steps to urgently direct all political parties that they must forthwith desist from using the military, military uniforms or symbols, and any actions by military formations or personnel, for political purposes or to further their political agendas”.
The Election Commission has issued multiple advisories asking political parties not to indulge in political propaganda involving the defence forces.