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Model Code of Conduct


PM Modi’s Mission Shakti address didn’t violate model code of conduct: EC

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation on the successful test-firing of an anti-satellite missile did not violate the model code of conduct, the Election Commission said on Friday night.

The EC took the decision based on the report of a committee of officers which found that the Prime Minister did not violate the provision of ‘party in power’ in the poll code.

“The committee has, therefore, reached the conclusion that the MCC provision regarding misuse of official mass media … is not attracted in the instant case,” the commission said, citing the report of the committee constituted to look into the case.

Model code of conduct is in place for the April-May parliamentary election and some state polls.

India shot down one of its satellites in space on Wednesday with an anti-satellite missile to demonstrate this complex capability, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced, making it only the fourth country to have used such a weapon after US, China and Russia.

Declaring India has established itself as a global space power after the success of the operation ‘Mission Shakti’, PM Modi said the missile hit a live satellite flying in a Low Earth Orbit after it traversed a distance of almost 300 km from earth within three minutes of its launch.

The announcement was made by the Prime Minister in a broadcast to the nation on television, radio and social media.

Several opposition parties had complained to the Election Commission alleging violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

PM Modi's Mission Shakti address didn't violate model code of conduct: EC


PM Modi’s televised address to be examined: EC after complaints by opposition

The Election Commission will examine if Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s televised address on the launch of anti-satellite missile violates the model code of conduct, the poll body said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

“The matter related to the address of Prime Minister to the Nation on electronic media today afternoon has been brought to the notice of the ECI. The Commission has directed a committee of officers to examine the matter immediately in the light of Model Code of Conduct,” the Election Commission statement said after PM Modi’s announcement triggered howls of protest from the opposition parties.

The model code is designed to ensure that the party in power does not get an unfair advantage in campaigning and influencing voters. The code is routinely invoked to prevent the political executive from promising financial grants, large projects or making ad-hoc government appointments.

Election Commission sources had initially indicated that the government did not need to take permission to make security-related announcements. But the Commission appeared to take a closer look at the speech after opposition parties closed ranks. CPM’s Sitaram Yechury was among the first to lodge a formal complaint against PM Modi’s address, underlining that the announcement comes in the midst of the ongoing election campaign where the PM is a candidate.

“This is clearly a violation of the model code of conduct,” Yechury said. He asked the Election Commission to spell out how it could have “permitted the achievements of Indian scientists to be politically-coloured during the course of the general elections”.

By then, Yechury’s rival back in Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had already taken a sharp swipe at PM Modi, describing his address to the nation as a “limitless drama” and announcing that she will file a formal complaint with the Election Commission.

“There is no great urgency in conducting and announcing the mission now by a government past its expiry date. It seems a desperate oxygen to save the imminent sinking of the BJP boat. We are lodging a complaint with the Election Commission,” she tweeted.

The Bengal CM, however, congratulated the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientists, who she said, “really deserve it (credit)”.

The Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mayawati also urged the Election Commission to take note of the matter.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tweeted about his address to the nation to deliver an “important message” about 15 minutes after the anti-satellite missile was launched from Odisha’s Balasore at 11.16 am.

During his 10-minute address, he spoke about the successful test that had propelled India in the elite space club that comprised the US, Russia and China. “In the journey of every nation there are moments that bring utmost pride and have a historic impact on generations to come. One such moment is today,” said the PM.

Mission Shakti, which was led by the DRDO, was aimed at strengthening India’s overall security, he said in his address that comes a fortnight before the start of the general election.

First Published: Mar 27, 2019 21:51 HT


Polls to be held from April 11 in 7 phases, counting on May 23 to form 17th Lok Sabha

The Election Commission today announced that the Lok Sabha election will be held in 7 phases. CEC Sunil Arora said that the Model Code of Conduct has come into force as it announced the dates for the elections to 17th Lok Sabha. The elections will start on April 11 and continue till May 19. The counting will be held on May 23. Nearly 90 crore voters will be eligible to vote for 543 Lok Sabha constituencies across the country. With the announcement of dates the moral code of conduct comes into force

State-wise poll details:
Phase 1 (April 11)
Andhra (25), Arunachal (2), Assam (5), Bihar (4), Chhattisgarh (1), J&K (2), Maharashtra (7), Manipur (1), Meghalaya (2), Mizoram (1), Nagaland (1), Odisha (4), Sikkim (1), Telangana (17), Tripura (1), UP (8), Uttarakhand (5), West Bengal (2), Andaman (1), Lakshadweep (1); Total (91)

Phase 2 (April 18)

Assam (4), Bihar (5), Chhattisgarh (7), Gujarat (26), Goa (2), J&K (1), Karnataka (14), Kerala (20), Maharashtra (14), Odisha (6), UP (10), West Bengal (5), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (1), Daman and Diu (1); Total: 115

Phase 4 (April 29)
Bihar (5), J&K (1), Jharkhand (3), MP (6), Maharashtra (17), Odisha (6), Rajasthan (13), UP (13), West Bengal (8); Total: 71

Phase 5 (May 6)
Bihar (5), J&K (2), Jharkhand (4), MP (7), Rajasthan (12), UP (14), West Bengal (7); Total: 51

Phase 6 (May 12)
Bihar (8), Haryana (10), Jharkhand (4), MP (8), UP (14), West Bengal (8), Delhi-NCR (7); Total: 59

Phase 7 (May 19)
Bihar (8), Jharkhand (3), MP (8), Punjab (13), West Bengal (9), Chandigarh (1), UP (13), Himachal (4); Total: 59

States which will have polling in one phase: Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal, Kerala, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Sikkim, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Andaman, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Lakshwadeweep, Delhi, Puducherry, Chandigarh.

*Approximately 10 lakh polling stations in 2019, compared to 9 lakh in 2014. 

*Photo voter slip shall be used for guidance but not as proof of identity at polling stations 

*17.4 lakh VVPATs will be used with EVMs at all polling stations. 

*Usage of loud speakers is prohibited between 10pm-6am in order to curb noise pollution.

Key Highlights from Chief Election Commissioner’s speech:

*The Chief Election Commissioner said that the Commission started preparing for elections for quite some time. The Commission started organising meetings with election commissioners of states and UTs. Several rounds of discussions were held with MHA and several other departments like railways for smooth conduct of elections.

C K Duarah