CPI(M) General Secretary's letter to CEC on violation of ECI guidelines by PM
We are herewith releasing the full text of the letter addressed by CPI(M) General Secretary, Sitaram Yechury to the Chief Election Commissioner, Shri Sunil Arora regarding the violation of the ECI’s guidelines by the Prime Minister against invoking the armed forces for electoral benefit by political parties.
Full Text of the Letter
April 22, 2019
Dear Shri Arora ji,
The Election Commission had issued clear guidelines on how matters of national security, actions of the Indian Armed Forces were not to be used as fodder for election speeches by the ruling party. These were reiterated by the Commission after the announcement of general elections as well.
We see that the Prime Minister is constantly flouting those guidelines and violating principles which have been laid down as ground rules for all political parties and leaders to follow. We believe that you have taken cognisance of his speeches in Latur where he called for a vote in the name of Pulwama martyrs, although the details of disciplinary action taken against him are still awaited. Moreover, we are yet to hear on when he would be asked to refrain from insulting the Commission’s guidelines, vitiating the electoral process and therefore, our democratic exercise.
We would like to draw your attention to two recent statements of Shri Narendra Modi, which are in public domain and have been reported in great detail in the print and electronic media.
On Sunday, April 21, on the last day of election campaigning in Gujarat, he said had Pakistan not returned the Indian Air Force pilot then it would have been a ‘qatal ki raat’ (night of slaughter).
“On the second day, America’s senior official said India would do something big. That Modi was ready with 12 missiles. It would have been a serious situation so it was good that Pakistan announced to return the Indian pilot else it would have been ‘qatal ki raat‘,” PM Modi said while addressing a rally in Patan.
Ironically, US President, Donald Trump, addressed global media at Hanoi saying that world should expect good news about the Indo-Pak conflict a few hours before Abhinandan was returned by Pakistan!
By claiming that it is him, and not our armed forces that secured India in the recent air strikes between India and Pakistan, he has gone onto claim that Pakistan sent back Indian Air Force pilot after his threat to Islamabad.
Shri Modi has been irresponsible and callous in going to the extent of calling for use of nuclear weapons. In an election rally in Barmer on Sunday, he said "India has stopped the policy of getting scared of Pakistan's threats. Every other day they used to say 'we have nuclear button, we have nuclear button'. What do we have then? Have we kept it for Diwali?”
The brazen, reckless invocation of armed forces, armed action and then threats of nuclear war, as something that is a partisan political act he would push for and something on the basis for which a vote is sought, in our opinion, even further compromises the integrity of the electoral process as laid out by the Election Commission.
Allowing the Prime Minister, a candidate in Varanasi and the star campaigner for the ruling BJP, to constantly seek to appropriate the valour of the Armed Forces and seek votes directly violates the Model Code of Conduct and misusing his office of Prime Minister, for electoral reasons.
Even after asking for a vote “in the name of martyrs” a few weeks ago, he has continued with speeches which violate your well-established rules. We urge you to use your good offices and put a stop to this impunity.
We urge you to act, so the sanctity of guidelines laid out by you is preserved and the entire election process truly remains a level-playing field for all parties and candidates.
In our considered opinion, the sanctity of the mandate given to the Election Commission by Article 324 of the Indian Constitution can only be upheld if the Election Commission acts with urgency to ensure compliance of all, including Prime Minister Modi, to its own guidelines issued publicly.
Looking forward to prompt appropriate action.