Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaigning for the Gujarat Assembly elections. (Photograph: PTI)

Elections 2019: Election Commission Seeks Report From Gujarat Poll Authorities On Modi Roadshow

The Election Commission has sought a report from the chief electoral officer of Gujarat on a roadshow of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad which the Congress alleged violated electoral law.

Briefing reporters on the phase three of Lok Sabha elections, which concluded on Tuesday, senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha said a report has been sought in this regard from the chief electoral officer of Gujarat.

Sources later pointed out that poll authorities in Gujarat have indicated that prima facie, the prime minister has not violated the model code. But there was no official word on this from the election commission.

Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act states that, “No person shall convene, hold, attend, join or address any public meeting or procession in connection with an election ... in any polling area during the period of forty-eight hours ending with the hour fixed for the conclusion of the poll for any election in that polling area.”

Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bhushan Kumar, responding to a question on BJP chief Amit Shah’s reported remarks on ‘Modi ji ki vayu sena’ made in West Bengal on Monday, said, “details have to be collected which will come in a day or two”.

The Congress on Tuesday moved the election commission alleging that Modi took out a roadshow after casting his vote and made political remarks in violation of the model code of conduct. The grand old party also demanded that a campaign ban of two-three days be imposed on him for being an “uncaring offender.”

Also read: Congress Moves EC Against Modi ‘Road Show’ after Voting

After casting his vote in Ahmedabad, Modi walked some distance from the polling booth and interacted briefly with the media.

Respnding to a volley of questions on delay on part of the Commission in finalising its response on the prime minister’s remarks in Latur, Maharashtra on April 9, Chandra Bhushan Kumar said, before taking a decision, the commission looks into the issue in its “entirety”.

Initially, he said, the district authorities had sent only the relevant paragraph of the prime minister’s speech. “The officials there are good in English and Marathi. But Hindi is an issue. When we demanded, a certified transcript was sent to us on April 16. The matter is (now) under examination,” he said.

Asked why in some cases the commission has taken decisions immediately and why was it delaying other matters, another deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena said, they take decision after looking into various aspects such as model code and the legal angle.

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Kumar said, every speech is different and is to be considered in different context.

“It is not that the work has stopped,” he said, adding that poll officials are also busy with preparing for polls and holding them smoothly. “As and when a decision is taken, it will be known to you,” he said.

Responding to a question on complaint against Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his “chowkidar chor hai” jibe against Modi, Kumar said transcripts of his two media interactions have been obtained and it is under the consideration of the Commission.

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