The Election Commission of India cleared Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah of any wrongdoing in two complaints each of violating the model code of conduct in speeches obtained while on the campaign trail for the ongoing general election.
The poll watchdog also said that Congress president Rahul Gandhi has asked for time till May 7 to file a reply to the show-cause notice issued on May 1 for a speech at Shahdol in Madhya Pradesh on April 23. “They snatch away your land, jungle, and water …and then, say that the tribal people can be shot at,” Gandhi was cited as saying in the speech.
Modi, who has been cleared on three previous occasions for speeches made in election rallies, was facing two more complaints for an address in his home constituency of Varanasi on April 25 and for another speech in Maharashtra’s Nanded on April 6. Shah faced complaints about his speeches in West Bengal’s Krishnanagar on April 22 and in Maharashtra’s Nagpur on April 9.
The EC had also given a clean chit to Gandhi on Thursday.
Directing a rally in Varanasi, Modi had stressed on national security, saying a new India gives a befitting reply to terrorism. “They martyred 40 of our soldiers in Pulwama and we have killed 42 terrorists,” Modi had said. The EC also found nothing wrong in his comments made in Nanded, Maharashtra where he reportedly dubbed the Congress as a ‘sinking Titanic’.
With this, the EC has decided on five complaints against Modi and given him a clean chit in each of them. “The matter has been examined in detail in accordance with the extant advisories, provisions of the Model Code of Conduct and after examination of the complete transcript, Commission is of the considered view that in this matter no such violation of the extant advisories/provisions is attracted,” the poll body said.
Against Shah, one complaint was that in Nagpur, he had used communal remarks to describe Gandhi’s procession for filing his nomination in Kerala. “It was impossible to say whether it is a procession in India or Pakistan,” Shah had reportedly stated.
In Krishnanagar, Shah had suggested to the Pulwama terror attack. “40 of our jawans were martyred in Pulwama, nothing used to happen after such incidents. Narendra Modi ordered his Air force on the 13th day of the incident and our aircraft blew the terrorists to pieces in Pakistan,” Shah was quoted as saying.