The Election Commission of India (ECI), on Saturday, gave a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his speech in Gujarat in which he had claimed that the Indian government had kept Pakistan on its toes to ensure the safe return of Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman.
Election Commission’s clean chit to PM Narendra Modi
- This is the sixth clean chit to PM Modi by the ECI.
- Sources said the decision on the April 21 Patan speech was unanimous.
- PM Modi, in his Patan speech, had reportedly said that he had warned Pakistan of "consequences" if it did not return IAF pilot.
- On the night of March 1, Pakistan released Varthaman. Modi also spoke of a US claim that India had kept 12 missiles ready.
- So far, the EC has cleared six speeches of Modi, two of Shah and one of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.
- One of the election commissioners, according to the sources, gave a dissenting view in the EC's decision to give a clean chit to Modi with regard to his speech at Wardha on April 1, where he attacked Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for contesting from the minority-dominated Wayanad seat in Kerala, and his appeal to first-time voters by invoking the Balakot airstrike and the CRPF jawans killed in the Pulwama terror attack on April 9.
- He had also reportedly given dissent in the clean chit to BJP president Amit Shah for his Nagpur speech in which he had reportedly said that Wayand constituency of Kerala is where majority is minority.
- In its Saturday's decision, the EC said, "...detailed report of the chief electoral officer, Gujarat was obtained. The matter has been examined in detail in accordance with the extant advisories, provisions of the model code of conduct. After examination, commission is of the view that in this matter no such violation of the extant advisories/provisions is attracted."
- Gandhi had been issued a show cause notice for his Madhya Pradesh speech in which he had reportedly said that the government enacted a new law which allows tribals to be shot.
- The ECI, on March 19, had issued an advisory asking parties not to invoke armed forces in their political campaign.
To constitute the 17th Lok Sabha, the general election is currently being held in seven phases from 11 April to 19 May 2019. On 23 May, the counting of votes will be conducted and on the same day the results will be declared.
With the general election, Legislative Assembly elections in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim are being held simultaneously.
(With inputs from PTI)