New Delhi, Sep 16:
The Congress, Janata Dal-United and Rashtriya Janata Dal on Wednesday approached the Election Commission and sought the suspension of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio address to the nation till the assembly elections in Bihar are over.
“We have submitted a petition to the Election Commission of India (ECI) seeking suspension of Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme till November 8, when elections get over in Bihar, since it would be violative of the model code of conduct,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said after submitting a memorandum to the election commission.
“By using government machinery like All India Radio and Doordarshan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to misuse his office,” he added.
The delegation comprised of JD-U leaders K.C. Tyagi and Pawan Varma, RJD leader Manoj Jha and senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
“The prime minister is a habitual speech maker who don’t even miss the opportunity to attack opposition parties from foreign soil. It’s obvious that he may use the platform of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ and not desist from speaking on something political,” Tyagi said.
“It will be a misuse of government machinery and is not permissible,” the JD-U leader said.
RJD leader Manoj Jha said that one cannot be given the freedom to misuse government machinery.
“We believe in the good judgement of the Election Commission. They will listen to us and will take action appropriately,” Jha told reporters.
Modi is scheduled to address the people through ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on September 20.
This will be the 12th ‘Mann Ki Baat’ edition, during which the prime minister shares his thoughts on different issues. The first edition was aired on October 3 last year.
As per the rules, when the model code of conduct is in force, broadcast on Doordarshan or All India Radio by political parties can only be done as per the slots allotted to them through a draw of lots by Prasar Bharti in consultation with the ECI.
The five-phase Bihar polls begin on October 12 and conclude on November 5. The counting will take place on November 8.