Take the pledge to vote

For a better tommorow#AajSawaroApnaKal
  • I agree to receive emails from News18

  • I promise to vote in this year's elections no matter what the odds are.
  • Please check above checkbox.

    SUBMIT

Thank you for
taking the pledge

Vote responsibly as each vote counts
and makes a diffrence

Disclaimer:

Issued in public interest by HDFC Life. HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited (Formerly HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited) (“HDFC Life”). CIN: L65110MH2000PLC128245, IRDAI Reg. No. 101 . The name/letters "HDFC" in the name/logo of the company belongs to Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited ("HDFC Limited") and is used by HDFC Life under an agreement entered into with HDFC Limited. ARN EU/04/19/13618
LIVE TV DownloadNews18 App
News18 English

EXIT Poll Results

Detailed Exit Poll Results
News18 » Politics
2-min read

Busy Time for Election Commission Amid Tide of Complaints, Bias Accusations

Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls that start on Thursday, the Election Commission (EC) says it is swamped with hundreds of thousands of such questions and accusations of violation of election rules, the model code of conduct.

Reuters

Updated:April 8, 2019, 2:28 PM IST
facebookTwitterskypewhatsapp
Busy Time for Election Commission Amid Tide of Complaints, Bias Accusations
People walk past the Election Commission of India office building in New Delhi (REUTERS)

New Delhi: Did Prime Minister Narendra Modi violate the poll code by addressing the nation on an anti-satellite test recently? Is it right to have a channel dedicated to the leader? Can the Indian soldiers be called "Modi's soldiers"?

Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls that start on Thursday, the Election Commission (EC) says it is swamped with hundreds of thousands of such questions and accusations of violation of election rules, the model code of conduct. Many are coming via ever expanding social media.

"The commission will only move when there is sufficient material," said Sandeep Saxena, a deputy election commissioner, adding that social media and mobile phones often tell people of things immediately, which it takes the panel time to learn.

"We normally ask our own field functionaries," he told Reuters. "It takes 12 hours or so to establish, only then we go for action."

Opposition parties have accused the panel of being biased in favour of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which they say gives Modi an unfair advantage in the election. There is even a threat to jail commission officials if Modi is ousted.

The BJP denies special treatment from the panel, an autonomous constitutional body tasked with the smooth conduct of the world's biggest democratic exercise with as many as 900 million eligible voters.

The panel, which has a staff of 300 at its headquarters in New Delhi, and more in the states, has said it is impartial and acting against the guilty irrespective of party affiliation.

But the model code of conduct has became a joke, said Tarun Kumar, an official of the main opposition Congress party, because NaMO TV, a recently launched television channel that broadcasts Modi's rallies live, as well as promotional material for the ruling party, was still on air, despite complaints.

"Everyday I think that the Election Commission has sunk to its lowest, only to be proved wrong next day!" said Yogendra Yadav, a political activist and former pollster.

"Modi's Soldiers"

The top complaints the panel has ruled on or is examining are a speech by the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath of the BJP, in which he associated the armed forces with Modi by calling them "Modi's soldiers", the panel says on its website.

Adityanath has been warned against such statements in future.

The panel is also weighing a representation against this month's planned release of a biopic, "PM Narendra Modi".

Last month the panel ruled Modi did not infringe election rules with a national broadcast that India shot down one of its own satellites using an anti-satellite missile in a major space breakthrough. Opposition parties had accused Modi of trying to reap political benefits with the announcement.

Complaints against Congress President Rahul Gandhi focus on his allegations of corruption over a warplane deal struck by the Modi government.

Saxena, the panel official, said it had received more than 40,000 references and complaints on its mobile app since the code of conduct took effect on March 10, and had dealt with 99 percent, taking action in about 68 percent of flagged incidents.

In the past three weeks, the panel has probably received more than a million complaints through social media and on its app, said another official, who requested anonymity.

"The volume of work is huge. Procedures, which have to be followed, make us slow," he added.

"People have the right to criticise. We are doing the best we can to conduct a fair election. Some of our officers are working 16 to 17 hours a day."

Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox - subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what's happening in the world around you – in real time.

Read full article
Next Story
Next Story

Also Watch

facebookTwitterskypewhatsapp

Live TV

Countdown To Elections Results
To Assembly Elections 2018 Results