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Sunday 26 January 2020

Inquiry into Modi’s ‘violation’ of MCC begins, but to what avail?

A complaint by the Congress to the EC and pressure exerted by Sharad Pawar and Chandrababu Naidu through the press led to this inquiry, but they had tried this in 2014 too

New Delhi: The Election Commission has initiated an inquiry after the Congress alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had violated the model code of conduct by holding a roadshow and making political remarks after casting his vote. This, notwithstanding the fact that similar complaints during the 2014 campaign and election did not help the Congress.

The Congress had, earlier on Tuesday, approached the Election Commission, demanding action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “repeated violation” of the model code of conduct. The party said Modi’s roadshow in Ahmedabad after he cast his vote was a blatant violation of the code and asked why the poll panel was “reluctant” to take action against the prime minister.

Inquiry against Modi

Gujarat chief electoral officer S Murali Krishna said that the Ahmedabad district election officer had been asked to conduct an inquiry.

Modi travelled in an open jeep to a polling centre in the Ranip area of Ahmedabad Tuesday morning to cast his vote. People lined up on both sides of the road as the jeep passed.

After casting the vote, Modi walked some distance away from the polling centre and spoke to the media.

The Congress has demanded a campaign ban of two or three days to be imposed on the prime minister for being an “uncaring offender”.

NCP president Sharad Pawar and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu today hit out at the Election Commission, with the latter asking if the model code of conduct was separate for the prime minister on one hand and chief ministers on the other.

Addressing a joint press meet, Naidu questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s act of holding a roadshow ahead of casting his vote in Gujarat. Naidu said, “Is it for the first time (that the prime minister has violated the model code of conduct)? Every day, there is a violation (on Modi’s part).”

What happened in 2014

“The Commission is of the view that by holding that meeting and also by addressing the same on Wednesday when the polling is going on in the entire state of Gujarat and in different parts of the country, Narendra Modi has violated the provisions of Sections 126 (1)(a) and 126 (l)(b) of Representation of People Act, 1951.

“Therefore, the Commission directs…that complaint/ FIR as the case may be, should be filed against Narendra Modi and all others who were involved in the convening and holding of the said meeting…,” the Election Commission order of April 2014 had said.

The case was legally as well as administratively stronger then because two FIRs had been registered against Modi, who was then not yet the prime minister of the country. He was still functioning as the Gujarat chief minister under a Congress-led UPA government. But it is well known neither his election from Vadodara or Varanasi was declared null and void nor was any restriction on campaigning for a few days imposed on him.

For more Lok Sabha election-related news, please visit this page.

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