- PM had cited Pulwama and Balakot in election speech in Maharashtra
- No violation of model code, poll body said after examining the speech
- Election Commission had said armed forces cannot be used for campaigns
Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not violate the model code of conduct when he appealed to first-time voters in Maharashtra's Latur citing the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama and the air strikes at Pakistan's Balakot, the Election Commission said on Wednesday.
The poll body said the matter has been examined in detail and after examining the complete transcript of the speech, the commission is of the "considered view that in this matter no such violation of the extant advisories/provisions is attracted."
While addressing a rally in Latur on April 9, the Prime Minister had said: "I want to ask my first-time voters, can your first vote be dedicated to the soldiers who conducted the Balakot air strikes? Can your first vote be in the name of the martyrs who lost their lives in Pulwama?"
The Election Commission had declared in March that the armed forces cannot be dragged into poll campaign after opposition complaints that the BJP was referring to the Pulwama terror attack and the Balakot air strikes while campaigning.
After the air strikes at a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp at Pakistan's Balakot, the opposition had accused the BJP of trying to gain electoral benefits from the achievement of the Indian Air Force. It also accused the BJP of projecting itself as the only party concerned about national security, while portraying opposition parties as "anti-national".
This is the second clean chit to PM Modi by the Election Commission in 24 hours. Yesterday, the poll body had said that the PM's speech in Maharashtra's Wardha in which he slammed Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for contesting from Wayanad and "indicated" that the Kerala constituency had more voters from the minority community, did not violate the poll code.
It was the first time the commission took a call on the several complaints pending against the Prime Minister.
Earlier yesterday, the poll body had got a notice from the Supreme Court over a petition that accused it of "inaction" over complaints against PM Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah. Several complaints are pending in the commission that accuses them of delivering hate speeches and using armed forces for "political propaganda".
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