The Election Commission on Wednesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not violate the Model Code of Conduct by appealing to first-time voters to dedicate their votes to security personnel killed in the Pulwama attack in February.
The poll body said it examined the entire transcript of the speech that Modi gave in Maharashtra’s Latur district on April 9 in accordance with the extant advisories and provisions of the Model Code of Conduct. “Commission is of the considered view that in this matter no such violation of the extant advisories/provisions is attracted,” the poll body said in a statement.
“I want to ask the first-time voter, can your vote be dedicated to those soldiers who conducted air strike on Balakot in Pakistan?” Modi had asked in the speech. “Can your first vote be dedicated to those soldiers who were killed in Pulwama attack?”
In March, the Election Commission had issued instructions to political parties and candidates, asking them not to use or mention the defence forces while campaigning. It has warned Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath and BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi for violating the directive.
On Tuesday, the commission cleared Modi in another instance of alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct. At a rally in Maharashtra’s Wardha district on April 1, the prime minister had claimed that Congress President Rahul Gandhi had been forced to contest the election from Wayanad in Kerala because of its sizeable Muslim population.