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PM’s Balakot remarks not model code violation: Election Commission

Election watchdog gives second clean chit to Modi in as many days after it cleared Apr 1 speech in which PM commented on Rahul Gandhi contesting from Wayanad.

ET Bureau|
Updated: May 02, 2019, 06.28 AM IST
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BCCL
Election Commission
This is the first time the Commission took a call on the several complaints pending against the PM Modi
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in Latur, Maharashtra, where he exhorted first timers to vote for Balakot soldiers and Pulwama martyrs, is not a violation of the Model Code of Conduct, the Election Commission (EC) of India ruled on Wednesday.

“In this matter, no such violation of the extant advisories/provisions is attracted,” said an EC statement.

The decision on the closely-watched matter came a day after it gave a clean chit to Modi on his April 1 speech, when he allegedly made divisive comments on Rahul Gandhi’s decision to contest from Wayanad.

Modi’s remarks in Latur had drawn even more criticism. “I want to tell first-time voters, can you dedicate your first vote to the brave soldiers who carried out the air strike on Balakot in Pakistan?” Modi had said on April 9. “Can you dedicate your vote to the brave martyrs of Pulwama (where a suicide bomber killed 40 CRPF men)?” The Congress and CPI(M), among others, had taken up the matter with the EC.

EC said it had examined “a detailed report of the chief electoral officer, Maharashtra” on the issue.

“The matter has been examined in detail in accordance with extant advisories, provisions of the Model Code of Conduct and after examination of the complete transcript of a speech of 11 pages, as per the certified copy sent by the returning officer, 40 Osmanabad Parliamentary Constituency.”
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