Stop sending 'Viksit Bharat' messages to citizens: Election Commission tells Centre

The Congress and TMC slammed the government for 'blatant violation' of poll code

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar | Sanjay Ahlawat Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar | Sanjay Ahlawat

The Election Commission of India on Thursday said it has directed the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to "immediately halt" sending WhatsApp messages in bulk under the Viksit Bharat Sampark. 

The move comes after the poll panel received complaints that such messages continue to be sent to citizens' phones despite the Model Code of Conduct coming into force. The EC has asked the ministry to submit a compliance report on 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.

The ministry had clarified that the messages and a letter from Prime Minister Narendra Modi were sent via WhatsApp before the Model Code of Conduct came into force on March 16. ".... some of them could have possibly been delivered to recipients with a delay because of systemic and network limitations," the ministry said in a communication to the EC.

Opposition parties, including the Congress and Trinamool Congress, slammed the government for "blatant violation" of the Model Code of Conduct" and requested the poll panel to take action.

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