The Election Commission on Friday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not break the Model Code of Conduct with his televised address to the nation on Wednesday announcing a successful test of India’s anti-satellite weapon.
“The committee has reached the conclusion that the MCC provision regarding misuse of official mass media as contained in Para (IV) of Part VII of Model Code of Conduct, quoted above, is not attracted in the instant case,” a statement by the Election Commission said.
The party in power cannot use public money to publicise achievements ahead of elections. The commission evaluated if the ruling government had misused the official mass media Doordarshan and All India Radio “for partisan coverage of political news and publicity’.
Doordarshan, however, told the committee that “the telecast of the Prime Minister’s address on 27 March was not live” and it had only played out the feed received from news agency ANI.
The EC in the statement said that it took the decision based on the report submitted by a committee of officers appointed by the EC which found that the PM did not violate the poll code provision of a ‘party in power’ misusing official mass media during election period.
Opposition parties had filed a complaint saying that Modi highlighted an “achievement” of the government and the issue was not necessarily related to national security.
“Issue of advertisement at the cost of public exchequer in the newspapers and other media and the misuse of official mass media during the election period for partisan coverage of political news and publicity regarding achievements with a view to furthering the prospects of the party in power shall be scrupulously avoided,” says the commission’s model code of conduct for elections