The Election Commission (EC) on Friday gave a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his address to the nation announcing the success of ‘Mission Shakti’. Stating that the Prime Minister’s address has not violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), the poll watchdog said that public broadcasters — Doordarshan and All India Radio — were not used to air the speech.
“The source was the play out of the video as received from news agency Asia News International. Doordarshan subscribes to the news agency ANI which provides the visuals of news events round the clock. This arrangement is continuing since a long time,” the poll watchdog said, in response to a letter sent by CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
— Ritika Chopra (@KhurafatiChopra) March 29, 2019
“The Prime Minister’s message was telecast on more than 60 news channels in addition to Doordarshan,” the EC observed.
As the Opposition claimed that the Prime Minister’s address was a violation of the poll code, Yechury had said, “Such a mission should normally be announced to the nation and to the world by the relevant scientific authorities like the DRDO. Instead, the Indian Prime Minister has taken the route of an address to the nation in making this announcement. This announcement comes in the midst of the ongoing election campaign where the Prime Minister himself is a candidate. This is clearly a violation of the Model Code of Conduct.”
Following this, a committee of four officers was directed to examine the matter thoroughly in “light of the Model Code of Conduct” to ensure official machinery and the government office were not misused to the advantage of the ruling party.
The EC is learnt to have crosschecked with Doordarshan whether it had recorded and aired the PM’s address and was informed that the channel only used a pre-recorded feed from a private news agency. “The government has sought permission in the past to use AIR for airing ‘Mann ki Baat’. Since the public broadcaster wasn’t used this time, they didn’t have to approach (EC),” an EC official had earlier said.