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'No party name, no appeal for votes': EC gives clean chit to Modi's Mission Shakti speech

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New Delhi, Mar 29: The Election Commission of India on Friday gave clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Mission Shakti' speech, saying it did not violate the Model Code of Conduct.

The EC committee headed by Deputy Election Commissioner in charge of the MCC division Sandeep Saxena came to the conclusion that Modi's speech did not violate the guidelines because "he did not mention the BJP, nor did he appeal for votes" in the duration of his address. The MCC has been enforced since the EC announced the dates for Lok Sabha election 2019 on 10 March.

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Saxena is heading the committee of officers which was set up on Wednesday to examine the matter. Once completed, the committee will submit the report to the Election Commission to take a decision on the matter, he said.

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The Prime Minister's Office had neither informed nor asked the Election Commission for permission about the announcement, PTI reported.

On Tuesday, Modi announced that India had shot down a live satellite in space and had become the fourth country to do so. He called it 'Mission Shakti'. Opposition parties have congratulated the scientists responsible for the launch but criticised the government for the manner of the announcement as it came just weeks before the Lok Sabha elections are set to begin.

The Model Code of Conduct came into force on March 10, after the Election Commission announced the dates for the Lok Sabha polls. The poll body said the elections will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19, with the results announced on May 23.

As the address was over, opposition parties like TMC and CPI(M) complained that the speech was a breach of poll code and a committee should be set up to examine the issue.

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