The Election Commission has taken cognizance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark wherein he made an appeal to the first-time voters to dedicate their votes to the soldiers who carried out the air strikes in Pakistan’s Balakot. According to media reports, the poll body has now asked Maharashtra’s chief electoral officer to submit a report at the earliest on Modi’s address to the crowd in Latur district on Tuesday.
Addressing an election rally in Latur alongside Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray, Modi had asked first-time voters if they could dedicate their vote to the brave jawans who carried out the cross-border operation following Pulwama attack that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF soldiers.
“I want to appeal to the first time voters. Can you dedicate your first vote to the brave jawans who conducted air strike in Pakistan’s Balakot? Can you dedicate your first vote to jawans who lost their lives in Pulwama attack?” he had said.
The EC has sought the report in the context of its advisory issued last month, asking political parties to refrain from politicising the armed forces in their election campaign.
“…parties/candidates are advised that their campaigners/candidates should desist, as part of their election campaigning, from indulging in any political propaganda involving activities of defence forces,” the EC advisory issued on March 19 said.
Meanwhile, the CPI(M) has written a letter to the Election Commission alleging that PM Modi violated the model code of conduct by invoking IAF’s February 26 operation in Pakistan in his rallies in Maharashtra and Karnataka to seek votes.
The issue of nationalism has been at the centre of BJP’s campaign for the Lok Sabha election this time. PM Modi and other BJP leaders have been training guns at the Congress and other opposition leaders for demanding evidence of the cross-border operations of the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force.
The BJP has also taken exception to the Congress party’s promise to amend the AFSPA and dilute the British-era sedition law in its manifesto.