Government

No Model Code Violation by NITI Aayog Sharing District Level Data With PMO: EC

The poll panel said that the prime minister is exempted from the provision that bars ministers from combining official visits with campaigning.

New Delhi: The Election Commission has found no violation of the poll code in the NITI Aayog sharing data with the prime minister’s office on places where PM Narendra Modi was set to campaign for the Lok Sabha elections.

Senior deputy election commissioner Sandeep Saxena said the commission has disposed off the complaint as the prime minister is exempted from the provision that bars ministers from combining official visits with campaigning.

The exemption to the prime minister was given in October 2014. “It was not a one time exemption but a standing instruction,” Saxena told reporters here.

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Sources later said, the NITI Aayog had not shared any political data but district-level data with the prime minister’s office (PMO).

The EC had written to NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on May 4 flagging the allegations made by the Congress and the AAP.

Asking Kant to furnish the reply “immediately”, the EC had referred to the allegations that the NITI Aayog has asked officers in various states and Union territories to provide to the PMO write ups about destinations of the prime minister’s campaign.

Also Read: How Can We Constitute a More Impartial, Non-Partisan Election Commission?

The EC also responded to a question on the Congress’s fresh complaint against information allegedly sought by an officer of the department for promotion of industry and internal trade from the commerce ministry on Start Up India, claiming that it was meant to be used for the BJP’s manifesto.

Saxena said the ministry has been asked to respond.

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