NEW DELHI: The Election Commission has given go ahead for airing of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s radio programme Mann ki Baat during the Bihar elections.
The commission ruled it has no objection to the programme provided nothing is said that may be construed as inducement to voters or having an impact on poll-bound Bihar where model code of conduct is in force till November 12.
Even though the JDU-RJD and Congress combine too had submitted a complaint to the EC demanding a ban on it, the poll panel gave its ruling in response of clarification sought by the ministry of Information and Broadcasting on airing the radio show on September 20.
The Commission said it also has no objection to pre-broadcast publicity through different channels of AIR and Doordarshan.
Earlier, delegation of the three-party alliance had sought stoppage of broadcast saying it would give a completely unfair advantage to BJP and will upset the level-playing field essential to uphold the neutrality and majesty of the electoral process.
The programme was aired even during Haryana, Maharashtra and Delhi assembly polls.
However, in a separate order based on complaint given by the three-party alliance, Election commission sought clarifications from the Railways Ministry as to why concessions were given to trains hired by the BJP to carry people from Bihar to other states even after the model code of conduct came into force.
It asked the railways ministry not to give any concessions to any trains originating from Bihar or going to Bihar while the model code of conduct is in force. The EC asked the ministry to seek it prior permission.
The three-party delegation had complained to the EC saying that the railways had violated the model of code of conduct by giving special concession in four trains to Chhatisgarh, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh. The trains carried BJP workers who were to be trained and brought back to campaign for the party in the state.
Express had first reported about this reported move of the BJP where the party wanted to take two lakh Bihar residents out of the state to the BJP-ruled states to showcase the development undertaken there. the purpose behind the exercise was that these people would witness development would then be converted to the BJP’s development agenda and thus the good word in the election bound state.
To spread awareness about the ‘None of the Above (NOTA)’ option used in the voting machines, the Election Commission has introduced a specific symbol for it, like other election symbols.
The symbol has been designed by National Institute of Design (NID) Ahmedabad.
This symbol will now appear in the last panel on all EVMs and the others ballot papers against the ‘None of the Above (NOTA)’ option at all elections to be held from now onwards.
The objective of the ‘NOTA’ option was to enable electors who do not wish to vote for any of the candidates to exercise their right not to vote for any candidate without violation of the secrecy of their decision.