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Mission Shakti: EC sets up committee to probe whether PM's address to nation violated poll code

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New Delhi, Mar 27: After holding an 'internal consultation', the Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday set up a committee under a deputy election commissioner to examine the matter related to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to the nation "in the light of the Model Code of Conduct" which is in force for Lok Sabha polls.

Election Commission

The EC will analyse the urgency of Modi's address, the timing of which was questioned by Opposition leaders. An Election Commission spokesperson said the poll panel has directed a committee of officers to "examine the matter immediately in the light of the model code of conduct".

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The timing of the test, conducted at 11.16 am on Wednesday, and the announcement by PM Modi, an hour later, has come under question with several opposition parties alleging that it was done only for political mileage.

Though there was no official word on the deadline given to the committee to submit its report, the sources said the task will be completed at the earliest. The panel would go through the video and the transcript of the address. The PM addressed the nation after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security Wednesday morning which was apparently apprised of the development.

Earlier in the day, the prime minister announced India had demonstrated the capability by shooting down a live satellite, describing it as a rare achievement that puts the country in an exclusive club of space superpowers. India is only the fourth country to have such a specialised capability after the US, Russia and China.While opposition alleged that PM Modi is violating model code of conduct, BJP hailed it as a huge success. Mamata Banerjee said that they are lodging a complaint with EC. Mayawati accused PM of playing politics over it whereas Congress President Rahul Gandhi wished PM Modi Happy Theatre Day.

Issues related to national security and disaster management do not fall under the ambit of the model code of conduct, sources in the Election Commission said on Wednesday. They were responding to queries on whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement of India's successful demonstration of anti-satellite missile capability violated the poll code.

"The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had met. Decisions taken by it and issues such as disaster management do not fall under the model code of conduct and require no prior nod," a functionary said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced that India had demonstrated anti-satellite missile capability by shooting down a live satellite, describing it as a rare achievement that puts the country in an exclusive club of space super powers.

(with PTI inputs)

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