Election Commission rejects demand to cancel Modi's 'Mann ki Baat' before Bihar polls

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission has rejected a demand by the Congress and its alliance partners seeking a ban on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat radio broadcast on All India Radio slated for 20 September.

The Congress said it could be used to directly influence the outcome of the Bihar Assembly elections. The Commission said it would take action if parts of the programme were found to be in violation of the model code of conduct now in place in Bihar.

A senior official of the Commission said, “No blanket ban can be enforced on the broadcast or Cabinet meetings. But the EC can take cognisance if the Cabinet decision or the content of programme is in violation of the model code of conduct.”

A delegation comprising leaders from the Congress, the Janata Dal (U) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal had met the chief Election Commissioner on the issue.

An earlier complaint against the monthly broadcast during the Harayana assembly polls had been rejected after the Commission went through the recording and transcript of the episode.

Meanwhile, Modi has urged people to record voice messages for Mann Ki Baat. 

Earlier, people had been encouraged to send in their messages on the mygov platform. People can record their messages in either Hindi or English for Mann Ki Baat on the toll-free number 1800 3000 7800.

"Interesting effort by @mygovindia, which enables you to join Mann Ki Baat programme. I heard some of the voice messages and they were unique. Keep the messages coming. Some will be a part of the programme this Sunday," Modi tweeted. 

While the broadcast is generally on the last Sunday of the month at 11 am, Modi is doing it earlier this month as he has to leave for the United Nations General Assembly session in New York.

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