Sunday, June 23, 2024

EC’s silence on PM Modi’s ‘meditation’ spectacle raises concerns – N.F Times


New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (EC) chose to maintain radio silence over protests by the opposition parties that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘meditation’ at the Vivekananda Memorial, Kanyakumari, between May 30 and June 1, close to the last phase of polling on June 1, would lead to a serious violation of the Model Code of Conduct for political parties and candidates.

In the normal course, Modi’s inclination to meditate after a grueling election campaign across the country would appear to be well-intended, as it would help him as an individual to restore for himself some degree of composure and equanimity in preparation for the uncertain electoral verdict on June 4.

Opposing factions, led by the Congress and Trinamool Congress, have sounded the alarm bells, crying foul over potential violations of election regulations.

The silence period, enshrined under Section 126 of the Representation of People Act, 1951, marks the 48-hour period leading up to the conclusion of voting. Its primary objective is to ensure a level playing field for all candidates and parties by prohibiting political campaigning activities that could sway voters at the last minute. During this crucial phase, activities such as public meetings, the use of loudspeakers, and political advertisements are strictly restricted. Political advertisements through electronic and social media are also not allowed. However, door-to-door campaigning is allowed.

INDIA bloc argued that it contravened the Model Code of Conduct due to its association with media coverage.

Congress on Wednesday approached the Election Commission, saying that the Prime Minister’s move constitutes a “violation” of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said that the Trinamool Congress will complain to the Election Commission if Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meditation in Kanyakumari is televised, alleging that it would amount to a violation of the code of conduct.

According to legal experts, the telecast of meditation will not be a violation of MCC as he will be not uttering any word that can be linked to the election campaign.

This is not the first instance where PM Modi’s meditation retreats have drawn scrutiny during election periods. Similar concerns were raised during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections when Modi visited Kedarnath. However, on that occasion, the ECI permitted the visit while reminding the PMO of the ongoing Model Code of Conduct.

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