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PM Modi violated poll code in Chhattisgarh: Trinamool Congress

PM Modi violated poll code in Chhattisgarh: Trinamool Congress

Ahmedabad : Sanket Gokhale, the national spokesperson for Trinamool Congress and Rajya Sabha MP, alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi breached the model code of conduct (MCC) during his recent election rally in Chhattisgarh's Durg.

Gokhale lodged a complaint regarding it to the Election Commission of India (ECI) and took to social media on Sunday to share it.

Gokhale asserts that PM Modi, during his speech, improperly announced the extension of the government's free ration scheme for the next five years -- a declaration he contends could have been made outside the election period.

He argues that this timing of the policy announcement, made in the midst of an ongoing campaign for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), constitutes an unfair attempt to sway voters.

In his detailed letter to the ECI, Gokhale highlighted that such an announcement from a minister during the election period violates Election Commission rules designed to prevent undue influence on voters by leveraging state power.

He stressed that the announcement was neither urgent nor time-sensitive and was made in a capacity benefiting the BJP's electoral prospects, not as a neutral policy declaration from the Prime Minister.

In the letter, he wrote (verbatim): "This is to bring to your urgent notice a matter of serious violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) currently in force in Chhattisgarh for the General Elections to the state Assembly. On Saturday 4th Nov, 2023, Hon'ble Prime Minister of India Sh Narendra Modi delivered a speech at an election rally in Durg in Chhattisgarh.

"During his speech at the rally, Hon'ble PM announced that the "free ration scheme" of the Govt of India will be extended for another 5 years.

"This announcement is a policy decision that could've been made before the Model Code of Conduct came into force or after the Assembly Elections. There is nothing urgent or time-sensitive about this policy announcement that it needed to be made during the current period of the MCC being in force.

"Furthermore, the announcement was made during an election rally where the Hon'ble PM was campaigning for his party BJP for the upcoming Assembly elections. It was made in his capacity as a star campaigner for the BJP and not in his official capacity as the Prime Minister of India.

"Clause VII (6)(a) of the Election Commission's Model Code of Conduct related to "party in power" states that:

"From the time elections are announced by Commission, Ministers and other authorities shall not announce any financial grants in any form or promises thereof.

"Hon'ble PM belongs to the BJP which is the party in power in the Union Govt of India. This policy announcement (NOT promise) of extending the free ration scheme for 5 years was made by the Hon'ble PM while campaigning for the BJP.

"Therefore, this action of the Hon'ble PM is a clear and gross violation of the Model Code of Conduct currently in force in Chhattisgarh in view of the upcoming Assembly Elections. The timing and stage of the announcement i.e. at a BJP poll rally clearly shows that it is an attempt by the party-in-power to influence the electorate ahead of the elections and to defeat the idea of a level playing field.

"In the interest of free and fair elections, you're kindly requested to take URGENT cognizance of this representation and initiate action as per Election Commission guidelines on the MCC with regards to the aforementioned incident of violation.”

IANS with edits

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