Taking strong exception to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invocation of the success of the Indian armed forces and the recent killing of security personnel, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday shot off a complaint to the Election Commission (EC), seeking action against Modi for violating the model code of conduct.
Terming Modi’s speech in Maharashtra as “shockingly disgraceful”, the Chief Minister said it was “a clear case of violation of the code of conduct, which constitutes the bedrock of free and fair election.”
“Failure to check such instances suggested bias on the part of the EC,” he addded.
In his letter to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora, Amarinder strongly protested Prime Minister using the success of the Balakot air strikes by the Indian Air Force and the sacrifice of the martyrs of the Pulwama attacks to woo first-time voters.
“That a person of the stature of the Prime Minister should indulge in such shameful acts makes a mockery of the democratic process of election and undermines the independence of the Election Commission as well as the armed forces, who have always prided themselves on their secular character,” the Chief Minister wrote.
Amarinder described as “extremely unfortunate the fact that the Prime Minister was being allowed to engage in this kind of prejudicial behaviour, without the Election Commission taking any action to put a stop to such wilfull violation of the code of conduct, for the past several weeks”.
“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,” he said.
The Chief Minister pointed out that the EC, while asking political parties not to use photographs of defence personnel in its campaign, had categorically stated: “The armed forces of a nation are the guardians of its frontiers, security and political system. They are apolitical and neutral stakeholders in a modern democracy. It is therefore necessary that political parties and leaders exercise great caution while making any reference to the armed forces in their political campaigns.”
“Despite the EC directive, however, the Prime Minister continues to malign the memories of the martyrs and exploit their sacrifices in a petty attempt to garner votes,” Amarinder pointed out, lashing out at Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party for audaciously using the Balakot air strikes and the martyrdom of the security forces to exploit the sentiments of the voters.
Amarinder said if the Prime Minister was so concerned about the sacrifices of the security personnel, he should announce compensation of Rs 1 crore for the families of each of the martyrs instead of exploiting their martyrdom for promoting his vested interests.
The Chief Minister sought CEC’s “urgent personal intervention to put an immediate end to such gross violations of the code of conduct by the ruling party and its leaders”.