Model code of conduct: Nirmala takes commercial flight

Model code of conduct: Nirmala takes commercial flight

India's Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman gestures as she leaves after attending the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meeting at the prime minister's residence in New Delhi, India, February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman avoided taking a special aircraft and chose a commercial flight to New Delhi from here Sunday as the model code of conduct came into effect with the announcement of Lok Sabha election schedule.

Sitharaman, who earlier in the day participated in a function here, also avoided government car and escort vehicles and arrived at the airport in the car of a BJP leader, the party said.

The Minister was scheduled to board a special aircraft but shortly before her departure time, the Election Commission announced the schedule for the seven-phase polls commencing on April 11 and imposed the Model Code of Conduct.

Sitharaman took a private carrier's 8.40 pm flight to the national capital, the BJP said in a release. Airport sources said she had also told officials not to come to the terminal to see her off. Among other things, the code of conduct bars the government from announcing any policy move that may impact voters' decision and restrains ministers from making use of official machinery or personnel.