India’s election commission on Wednesday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly radio transmission, Mann Ki Baat couldn’t be banned outright.
According to a report carried by news agency PTI, the EC ruled out the possibility of a ‘blanket ban’ on PM Modi’s radio address after reports emerged that the Congress party was planning to approach them seeking ban in view of Bihar elections.
Congress had alleged that his Mann Ki Baat was likely to violate Model Code of Conduct enforced for Bihar elections.
A senior EC official reportedly told the news agency that the EC could take “cognizance” of any such demand only after finding that the programme’s contents had violated the model code.
Modi’s next episode of Mann Ki Baat is scheduled to go on air next Sunday, while the code of conduct for Bihar elections kicked in today.
“No blanket ban can be enforced on things like Cabinet meeting and Mann ki Baat but the EC can take cognizance if the Cabinet decision or the content of programme is in violation of the Model Code of Conduct,” the EC official was quoted as saying.
He, however, made it clear that he was making a “matter of fact” statement and was not aware of any such demand by the Congress or any other party.
Meanwhile, the political war of words have started over this latest controversy related to Bihar polls.
BJP MP, Meenakshi Lekhi took a dig at Congress’ reported plan to approach the EC and said that PM Modi could not be made to wear Naqab because of Bihar polls.
She told ANI, ” He (PM) is our star campaigner. You can’t get his face covered with “Naqab” and not allow to telecast on national TV. Mann Ki Baat is never political, PM talks about social subjects. It is laughable what Congress is trying.”
Her remarks came after the Congress leader Anand Sharma told reporters in Delhi that PM Modi was ‘thick-skinned’ and determined to ‘misuse his office.’
Sharma said, “Since PM remains thick-skinned and determined to misuse his office and the public broadcaster, Congress and alliance partners are not only objecting to it but will seek intervention of the ECI to stop this.”
Bihar polls are going to be held in five stages with the first phase scheduled for 12 October. Counting of votes will start on 8 November.