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Model Code: EC asks govt to stop sending ‘Viksit Bharat’ messages on WhatsApp

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New Delhi: The Election Commission Thursday directed the Centre to immediately stop delivering bulk WhatsApp messages to people under the “Viksit Bharat Sampark” initiative to highlight the government’s achievements.

The direction was issued to the Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, after the Commission received complaints about the matter.

“The move is a part of a series of decisions taken by the Commission to ensure a level-playing field,” the Commission said.

Asking the government to ensure there is “no further delivery” of the bulk WhatsApp messages to people, the Commission sought an “immediate” compliance report on the matter from the ministry.

The ministry had informed the Commission that the messages along with a letter from Prime Minister Narendra Modi were sent before the Model Code of Conduct came into force on March 16 with the announcement of Lok Sabha poll schedule.

“… due to system architecture and network limitations it is possible that some letters have a delayed delivery,” the ministry said in a communication to the Commission.

The poll authority had received several complaints that such messages highlighting the government’s initiatives were being delivered on citizens’ phones despite the announcement of parliamentary elections 2024 and the MCC coming into force.

The Congress and the Trinamool Congress had raised objections to the message and requested the Election Commission to act against this “blatant violation” of the Model Code of Conduct.

On Tuesday, the Chandigarh Chief Electoral Officer had referred to the Election Commission for “appropriate action” a complaint regarding bulk WhatsApp messages.

According to an official statement on Tuesday, after examination of the complaint, the district media certification and monitoring committee found prima facie evidence of a violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

The complaint was received through the cVIGIL mobile application of the poll panel.

Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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