The CPI(M) wrote to the Election Commission on Tuesday alleging violation of the poll panel’s directive after Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a rally in Maharashtra asked first-time voters to dedicate their votes to the brave men who carried out the air strike in Pakistan’s Balakot.
In the letter, the party’s politburo member Nilotpal Basu urged the poll panel to “strongly initiate” appropriate action to stop the pre-election atmosphere from being vitiated, which is fast degenerating towards polarisation.
“With deep anguish, we are drawing your attention to the latest violation of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. He is also violating the specific direction of the Election Commission to refrain from invoking the armed forces for seeking votes,” Basu wrote.
Addressing an election rally in Maharashtra’s Latur, Modi said, “I want to tell the first time voters, can you dedicate your first vote to the brave men who carried out the airstrike in Pakistan’s Balakot?
“Can your first vote be dedicated to the brave martyrs of the Pulwama (terror attack)?”
The Election Commission had last month asked all political parties to desist from using photographs of defence personnel as part of their election propaganda or campaigning.
The CPI(M) has also drawn the poll body’s attention to the “brazenly provocative” statement of Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
“In his election campaign he asserted that they did not need votes from those wearing ‘dhothis and lungis’ alluding to linguistic and religious minorities in the state. The situation in Assam is quite vulnerable. A custodial death took place in the Goalpara detention camp run by the state government.
“The detention camps for so-called doubtful voters were to be dismantled as per BJP’s electoral commitments. However, not only has this assurance not implemented, but new camps have come up notwithstanding the process of Supreme Court monitored up-gradation of National Register of Citizens,” Basu wrote.
Accusing the poll body of not dealing with earlier complaints with “firmness”, the Left leader said that even the case of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who called the Army “Modiji ki sena”, was treated “lightly”.
“We urge you to strongly initiate appropriate action to stop the pre-election atmosphere from being vitiated which is fast degenerating towards polarization based on identity and assertion of national symbol for partisan electoral interests,” he said.