Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu on Sunday took strong objection to the telecast of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s activities in Kedarnath and Badrinath, saying it was a “clear violation” of the election Model Code of Conduct as voters could be influenced during the last phase of Lok Sabha polls and attacked the Election Commission for being a “mute spectator”.
The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister also demanded action against the Prime Minister for talking about “betting” during his press conference, saying it amounted to promotion of the unlawful activity.
In a letter to the Election Commission, he said Modi’s all private activities during his visit to Badrinath and Kedarnath were being telecast on news channels continuously, which is “a clear violation of Model Code of Conduct and comes under indirect canvassing, influencing the voters through a person’s religious belief and public display of his personal religious activities”.
He said the EC has been a “mute spectator”, further strengthening the public belief that it has different sets of rules for the Prime Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) .
The TDP chief said if the telecast of Modi’s activities does not stop, it could “affect the level playing field” envisaged by the MCC, which the Commission is “duty-bound to implement”.
“Therefore, I earnestly request the Election Commission of India, to immediately stop such delusive, unfair and immoral campaign and direct all the concerned, to refrain from doing any activity that influences the voters directly or indirectly, and issue immediate directions to the concerned authorities to ensure strictest compliance of model code of conduct, and level playing field on the clay of polling,” Naidu said.
He also referred to Modi’s press conference held on Friday where he said “that people faced huge losses as they bet big on a particular party in 2014 Lok Sabha elections on the basis ‘satta’ market predictions”.
“It is alarming that the Prime Minister of a democratic country is making a mention of an illegal occupation subsequently supporting and promoting the unlawful business in the country,” Naidu’s letter said..
The letter also mentioned the views reportedly expressed by Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa over the clean chits given to Modi for his four speeches and to BJP President Amit Shah for his one speech.
“The callousness showed by ECI in not considering minority’s decision is arbitrary and is not befitting the stature of the office of Election Commission. This clearly depicts erosion of institutional integrity,” reads the letter.