Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s use of Balakot air strike and martyrs of Pulwama attack to seek votes of the first-time voters is a violation of the Election Commission’s instructions prohibiting the use of armed forces for political gains, the Osmanabad District Election Officer (DEO) reportedly said in his report submitted to the Maharashtra Chief Electoral Officer (CEO). According to a report published in The Indian Express, the DEO has forwarded Modi’s remarks to the Election Commission and a final decision on the issue would be taken by the poll body.
Addressing a rally in Maharashtra’s Ausa, the prime minister had said, “I want to tell my first-time voters: Can your first vote be dedicated to the brave soldiers who carried out the air strike in Balakot in Pakistan? I want to tell my first-time voters: Can your first vote be dedicated to the braves martyred in Pulwama?”
The remarks, which are prima facie violation of poll conduct, were opposed by the Opposition parties, who accused the prime minister of repeatedly violating EC’s Model Code of Conduct.
On March 19, the Election Commission had issued a notice to all the political parties, asking them not to indulge in any political propaganda involving armed forces' action as part of their poll campaign. Earlier, the EC had also asked political parties not to use the photographs of defence personnel for their election propaganda.
On Wednesday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had filed a complaint before the Election Commission seeking action against the prime minister for the violation of Model Code of Conduct. Terming Modi’s remarks “shockingly disgraceful", Singh in his complaint said that it was "clear case of violation of the code of conduct, which constitutes the bedrock of free and fair election."
Singh said that the prime minister’s repeated violation of the poll conduct was giving an impression that the EC was being biased by not coming down hard enough on violators of its guidelines for fair and free elections.
"That the Prime Minister has been allowed to continuously and brazenly resort to such gimmickry to woo voters raises suspicions of bias on the part of the Election Commission, with the impression going out that the poll body is not coming down hard enough on those violating its own code," the Congress leader wrote.