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The Fee has additionally requested the IT ministry to submit a compliance report.

New Delhi:

Taking a robust step to make sure compliance with the mannequin code of conduct, the Election Fee has directed the Union authorities to “instantly halt” Viksit Bharat messages being despatched over WhatsApp.

The ballot panel has additionally instructed the Ministry of Electronics and Info Know-how to right away submit a compliance report. 

Thursday’s motion by the Election Fee comes after it obtained a number of complaints in regards to the mannequin code being violated by MeitY sending the messages. In response, the ministry had knowledgeable the panel that the messages, which comprise a letter from the Prime Minister, had been despatched out on March 15 – earlier than the mannequin code of conduct (MCC)  got here into pressure – and that a few of them might have been delivered with a delay due to “system structure and community limitations”. 

The dates for the Lok Sabha elections – which might be held in seven phases between April 19 and June 1 – had been introduced by the Election Fee on March 16, and the mannequin code of conduct got here into impact instantly after that.  

Highlighting the assorted insurance policies and schemes of the federal government, the message despatched by the ministry additionally requested for suggestions and recommendations from the recipients. The deal with from which the messages had been despatched – which has a inexperienced tick – describes itself as: “Viksit Bharat Sampark is an ongoing initiative of the Authorities of India for analysis of the flagship schemes and enchancment in its implementation and supply.” It additionally states MeitY’s deal with and has a hyperlink to its web site. 

The EC’s newest motion comes on the heels of instructions to the chief electoral officer of Karnataka to take motion in opposition to Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje, primarily based on the DMK’s criticism, over her alleged derogatory remarks in opposition to individuals from Tamil Nadu. The panel had additionally ordered the cupboard secretary, chief secretaries of all states, and chief electoral offficers to take away all unauthorised political commercials. 

The actions are being seen within the context of Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar’s assertion whereas asserting the election dates that the ballot panel will do all the things in its energy to fight 4 ‘Ms’ – muscle, cash, misinformation and MCC violations – that may are available the best way of free-and-fair elections.

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