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PM Narendra Modi and accusations of poll code violation: From 2014 to Congress complaint today

The EC dismissed the Opposition party’s complaint saying it was not established that the PM greeting people outside the polling booth in Ahmedabad on Monday was part of a roadshow.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi after casting his vote for the Gujarat Assembly elections on Monday. (Express Photo: Nirmal Harindran)

The Congress on Monday filed a complaint with the Election Commission (EC) against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC). But this is not the first time the PM has faced such an allegation.

In its complaint, the Opposition party said Modi, on his way to vote, stepped out 500 to 600 metres from the polling booth at Nishant School in the Ranip area of Ahmedabad. Wearing a saffron scarf and carrying a BJP flag, he walked with people who had gathered all around. This, the Congress alleged in Delhi, was a “two-and-a-half-hour long roadshow by the PM around his casting of vote” and amounted to electioneering long after the moratorium on campaigning had set in.

According to The Indian Express reporter present at the scene, the entire episode — Modi arrived at the voting centre around 9.15 am and took around five minutes to walk up to the polling booth, greeting and waving his hand at eager voters lined up on either side of the road behind barricades and before leaving, he addressed the media — lasted for around 50 minutes, considerably less than the time the Congress mentioned. The EC has dismissed the Congress complaint saying it was not established that it was a roadshow and added that the “crowd was there on its own”.

Lotus lapel pin to Bangladesh speech

The Opposition has often accused the PM of violating the poll code. In 2014, at the same polling booth in Ahmedabad’s Ranip, which is part of the Sabarmati Assembly constituency, Modi prominently displayed the BJP’s “lotus” election symbol to the media after casting his vote in the Lok Sabha polls. Modi later claimed that the media interaction was not pre-planned and the lotus lapel pin he displayed was part of his attire.

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During the 2019 general election, the PM was accused of violating the model code when, in an election speech, he appealed to first-time voters in Maharashtra’s Latur to vote for the BJP by citing the terrorist attack in Pulwama and the retaliatory air strikes on Pakistan’s Balakot. Another complaint was filed against the PM during the campaign after he hinted in an election speech that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was contesting from Wayanad in Kerala because the constituency had a high percentage of Muslim voters.

During the Bihar Assembly polls of 2020, CPI MP Binoy Viswam alleged that the PMO, in a newsletter sent via its official email, had been soliciting funds for the BJP. The MP later filed another complaint accusing the EC of not taking any action on his earlier complaint. In 2021, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) complained that Modi had visited Orakandi in Bangladesh and offered prayers at a Matua community temple during the West Bengal Assembly polls solely to influence Matua voters across the border after the Model Code moratorium had set in. The EC dismissed all these complaints against the prime minister.

First published on: 05-12-2022 at 20:41 IST
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