Home Politics Trinamool MP accuses PM Modi for using IAF helicopter during electoral rally, files a complaint

Trinamool MP accuses PM Modi for using IAF helicopter during electoral rally, files a complaint

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Trinamool MP accuses PM Modi for using IAF helicopter during electoral rally, files a complaint

Saket Gokhale, member of the Trinamool Congress, filed a complaint against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 18. He accused the Prime Minister of breaching the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by using an Indian Air Force helicopter to participate in an election event in AC 96-Chilakaluripet, Palnadu, Andhra Pradesh.

The regulations forbid the use of government resources for election campaigns. This was the exact reason for Indira Gandhi’s disqualification in 1975. Gokhale questioned if the BJP had paid for the IAF helicopter’s rental, and if so, he demanded that the Election Commission (EC) disclose this information and explain why the helicopter was necessary.

Gokhale reminded that the EC had promised to strictly enforce the MCC during the election announcement. He publicly shared his complaint on X (previously known as Twitter), and expressed his anticipation to see if the EC would investigate or take any action against PM Modi for using the IAF helicopter for his campaign.

In another post, Gokhale clarified that he chose to approach the EC instead of the Supreme Court because the courts are not permitted to intervene in election-related matters while the elections are ongoing. He emphasized that any action in this regard should be taken solely by the EC.

At a recent press conference, there was a discussion about the use of government vehicles by SPG protectees. It was pointed out that a 2014 EC notification allowed such use, but Gokhale clarified that this was only meant for official bulletproof and convoy vehicles, such as jammer cars, used for security purposes. He made it clear that this did not include the use of IAF helicopters. At the same press conference, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar announced that the EC would be stricter in dealing with violations of the Model Code of Conduct than it had been in the past.

IAF helicopter
Image : Hindustan Times

What is the Model Code of Conduct?

The MCC, issued by the Election Commisision, is a set of guidelines that governs the behavior of political parties and candidates during elections. It comes into effect from announcing the election schedule until the declaration of results. The MCC covers various aspects such as general conduct, meetings, processions, polling day procedures, polling stations, observer roles, rules for the ruling party, and guidelines for election manifestos.

While the MCC does not have independent legal enforceability, specific clauses can be enforced through corresponding provisions in other laws, such as the Indian Penal Code of 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1973, and the Representation of the People Act of 1951. Furthermore, under paragraph 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order of 1968, the EC has the authority to suspend or revoke a party’s recognition if the MCC is violated.

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