Oppn urges EC to ban Modi's 'Mann ki Baat'

Oppn urges EC to ban Modi's 'Mann ki Baat'

Oppn urges EC to ban Modi's 'Mann ki Baat'

Leaders of the anti-BJP grand alliance on Wednesday urged the Election Commission to ban Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s radio programme “Mann ki Baat”, contending that it could influence voters in poll-bound Bihar.

JD(U) leaders K C Tyagi and Pawan Varma, RJD leader Manoj Jha and Congress leaders Randeep Singh Surjewala, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and K C Mittal submitted a memorandum to the poll authority claiming that Modi was likely to speak about the Bihar development package in his radio talk on Sunday.

However, Election Commission officials are understood to have told the alliance leaders that a “blanket ban” on the programme may not be possible and that the poll authority can take cognizance only if the content violated the model code of conduct.

“Permitting the Prime Minister to organise the ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme would be giving a completely unfair advantage to the BJP and will upset the level-playing field, essential to uphold the neutrality and majesty of the electoral process,” the three parties said in their petition to the Commission.

The petition said the programme was “essentially political” with the prime minister giving out his thought on various political and governance issues.The BJP said it only showed the opposition’s “frustration”.

“They can see the writing on the wall that their defeat is certain in Bihar. The elections are being fought on the agenda of development while Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad and the Congress have nothing to show to people. They are desperate,” BJP leader Srikant Sharma said.

RJD spokesperson Manoj Jha said since the prime minister was the face of the BJP for Bihar elections and its key campaigner, he cannot be allowed to use the government machinery for the party’s benefit in the election.

Meanwhile, the prime minister gave clear indications that he was in no mood to put off his radio talk scheduled for Sunday.

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