Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel Monday lodged a complaint of alleged poll code violation against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making statements about the Army and surgical strikes during his public meeting held in Balod district of the state on April 6. Baghel, who also holds the post of state Congress president, reached the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Subrat Sahoo along with senior party leaders and handed over the written complaint.
The CM also submitted an audio CD of the PM’s speech to Sahoo. The complaint claimed that the prime minister had violated the model code of conduct five times during his speech.
"While Modi Ji didn't mention about any of the development work done during his five-year tenure but he continued patting his own back by highlighting the valour and courage of the Indian army. He tried to gain political benefit and win votes during the election meeting by displaying the courage of the Army," the complaint stated.
It further said the lines of Modi’s speech were focused "only on the Army, the surgical strike, the air strike, and repealing 'Raksha Kawach' of Army etc".
"Modi also claimed that the BJP has been contesting the elections to strengthen the Indian military while the Congress is fighting the elections to weaken it, which is irrelevant and an attempt to take mileage in the name of the Army," Baghel stated. He stated that the prime minister tried to "mislead" the audience.
"There is a guideline of the Election Commission against politicising the achievements of the armed forces by political parties. No political party can highlight the achievements of the armed forces as its personal work but PM Modi used it many times during his speech which is a violation of MCC (Model Code of Conduct)," it said.
In his rally which was held at Hathuad in Balod district, the prime minister had made a pitch for a "strong government" at the Centre. He had said the Congress and its allies were contesting elections for giving a free hand to terrorists and separatists, while the BJP is contesting to punish terrorists and separatists for their sins.
"Congress and its allies are contesting the election to weaken the armed forces, while the BJP is fighting to make the armed forces self-reliant," he had said.
The PM had also called the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act a "Suraksha Kavach" (armour)) of the security forces, and slammed the Congress for “promising to repeal it in its dhakosla patra (sham manifesto)”.
Meanwhile, the BJP has termed the complaint against Modi as a "political stunt". "What is wrong if the PM praised the Indian army for its courage and valour. It is a matter of pride for the people of the country that the Indian army has conducted air strikes on terror camps (in Pakistan). Congress’ complaint is nothing but just a political stunt and a show-off," said state BJP e spokesperson Sachchidanand Upasane.