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Election 2019

Stop ‘continuous’ telecast of PM’s Kedarnath, Badrinath visits: Naidu to CEC

New Delhi | Opposition leader and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu on Sunday wrote to the Election Commission, claiming that “continuous” telecast of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “private activities” at Badrinath and Kedarnath shrines is violation of the poll code and should be stopped.

Naidu is in the national capital trying to bring Opposition parties together to keep the BJP out of power after Lok Sabha election results are declared on May 23.

Modi, who has expressed scientific knowledge guiding the scientists and defense experts to go ahead with air strikes on a cloudy day to escape from being caught by radars, is now trying to project a “megalomaniac” image of himself through various “dubious” activities, Naidu said.

“If continuous telecast of these activities of Prime Minister is not stopped, it could affect the level playing field envisaged by the model code of conduct, which the ECI is duty bound to implement,” he said in a letter written to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora.

Modi has gone to Badrinath and Kedarnath on an “official visit” for two days till May 19 but all his “private activities” during the pilgrimage were continuously telecast by TV news channels, which itself is a clear violation of the model code of conduct, he said.

This is “indirect canvassing” and influencing voters through a person’s religious beliefs and public display of his personal religious activities, he said.

Modi’s activities like meditating in caves, walking in various costumes, making announcements on Badrinath and Kedarnath master plan, and thus making direct references and indirect appeal to the people of specific religion, amounts to canvassing in disguise, he added.

“…The Election Commission of India, which should have stopped this, has been a mute spectator (thus) further strengthening the public belief that it has different sets of rules for the PM and BJP, and the rules in vogue for other political parties,” Naidu said.

Modi can do all these activities in private but continuous telecast should be stopped, he said.

“I earnestly request the Election Commission of India (ECI) to immediately stop such delusive, unfair and immoral campaign and direct all concerned to refrain from any activity that influences the voters directly or indirectly,” Naidu requested.

Besides, Naidu also noted the dissent expressed by Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa over clean chits given to Modi and BJP president Amit Shah over allegations of poll code violations.

“The callousness showed by the ECI in not considering minority’s decision is arbitrary and is not befitting the stature of the office of EC. This clearly depicts the erosion of institutional integrity,” he said.

The TDP chief further said it was alarming to see the Prime Minister mentioning about ‘satta’ market, an illegal occupation, and how people suffered huge loss for betting on a particular party in 2014.

The Prime Minister’s two-day visit to the Kedarnath and Badrinath shrines in Uttarakhand was cleared by the election body with a reminder that the election code of conduct is still in place.

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