DRDO gets EC ok for mission shakti briefing with rider against political misuse

ECI’s nod to DRDO came on Friday evening after the defence ministry sought permission on its behalf, earlier in the day, for a major briefing which has been scheduled for Saturday.

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Following representations from parties, the EC had asked a panel of officers to examine if the PM had violated the model code.
The Election Commission has given its nod to the Defence Research and Development Organisation to share a ‘detailed and authentic account’ of Mission Shakti, days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s broadcast on the same ran into a controversy for not seeking such permission as the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha polls is in operation.

ECI’s nod to DRDO came on Friday evening after the defence ministry sought permission on its behalf, earlier in the day, for a major briefing which has been scheduled for Saturday. The ministry sought ECI’s permission for a detailed DRDO briefing to technical and strategic experts and the media on the successful testing of the anti-satellite missile on March 25.

Incidentally, the PMO had not sought ECI’s permission before Modi’s address to the nation on Mission Shakti on March 25. Keeping in mind the furore over the PM’s address, the ministry is learnt to have sought ECI’s permission as a precaution.


The ECI clearance has a rider “nothing be said at the event by anyone that may have an effect of influencing the electors and the success of the mission shall not be projected as an achievement of any political party.”

It is learnt that the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and senior government officials also held a meeting with DRDO authorities on the briefing which is expected to give technical details related to it and explain implications and impact of the test in the global order.

Modi’s address to the nation announced how India’s ASAT missile hit a live satellite flying in a low earth orbit after it traversed a distance of over 300 km of earth within three minutes of launch. India is the fourth nation to achieve the feat after US, Russia and China.
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Following the PM’s address CPM submitted a representation to the Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on the matter seeking to know how the PM could make such an announcement in the middle of elections when he himself was a candidate. Terming it a clear violation of the model code, the party sought to know whether the ECI was informed of such an address and if it permitted it. Trinamool Congress’ Mamata Banerjee also said she would take up the matter with the ECI.

Following representations from parties, the EC had asked a panel of officers to examine if the PM had violated the model code. It also sought details from Doordarshan and AIR. The panel said the code applicable to the party in power did not apply in the case as ‘official media’ was not used for the broadcast. Doordarshan submitted to ECI that it had taken the feed from ANI.
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