No violation in Modi, Rahul’s speeches: EC

PM’s speech had attracted criticism

The Election Commission has not found any violation in the speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, made in separate instances.

Mr. Modi’s speech in Rajasthan’s Barmer on April 21 had attracted strong criticism from the Opposition.

Targeting Pakistan in the context of Balakot air strike, the Prime Minister had said: “Every other day they used to say ‘we have nuclear button’…have we kept it for Diwali?”

The EC took cognisance of the complaint alleging violation of its advisories and the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), and sought a detailed report from the Rajasthan Chief Electoral Officer (CEO).

On receipt of the report and a 10-page certified transcript of the speech, the Commission on Thursday examined the matter “in accordance with the extant advisories, provisions of the Model Code of Conduct.”

The poll panel ruled that Mr. Modi’s comments did not violate the rules. This is the third impugned speech of Mr. Modi in which the EC has not found any violation.

Overrules observations

On Wednesday, overruling the observations of State officials, the Commission had said Mr. Modi’s speech at Latur in Maharashtra on April 9, in which he appealed to first time electors to dedicate their vote to the Pulwama martyrs and to the soldiers who carried out the air strike, did not violate the code.

The Commission was of the view that the Prime Minister had nowhere appealed for vote to the BJP.

The Commission had on Tuesday ruled that Mr. Modi’s speech at Wardha on April 1 also did not violate the MCC and the Representation of the People Act provisions.

Targets BJP chief

The complaint against Mr. Gandhi pertained to his speech in Madhya Pradesh’s Jabalpur on April 23, in which he had addressed BJP chief Amit Shah as a “murder accused.”

The BJP had lodged the complaint with the EC alleging MCC violation. It cited some portions of Mr. Gandhi’s speech at a rally in Siroha (Jabalpur).

The Commission received a detailed report from the State CEO along with a certified transcript of the impugned speech. After examining the evidence at hand, the poll panel said the comments did not violate the Code.

During the speech, Mr. Gandhi had also targeted Mr. Amit Shah’s son Ajay Shah, saying he was a “magician” who converted ₹50,000 into ₹80 crore in three months.

And then, the Congress chief said, the Prime Minister had been advising the other young men to make “pakodas,” asking why Rafale jets and weapons could not be manufactured in the country. “No…that will go only to Anil Ambani, to the factory in France…,” he had said.

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