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EC rules out blanket ban on PM’s ‘Mann ki Baat’

The Election Commission on Wednesday ruled out a blanket ban on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann ki baat radio programme amid reports that the Congress is likely to approach the poll body with such a demand alleging it “violates” the Model Code of Conduct in force in Bihar owing to Assembly polls.

A senior EC official said they can take “cognizance” of any such demand only after finding that the programme’s contents violate the model code.

A regular radio broadcast in which Mr. Modi shares his thoughts on issues, Mann ki baat’s next episode will be aired on Sunday.

“No blanket ban can be enforced on things like Cabinet meeting and Mann ki baat but the EC can take cognizance if the Cabinet decision or the content of programme is in violation of the Model Code of Conduct,” the official said.

‘Not aware of Congress’s demand’

He, however, made it clear that he was making a “matter of fact” statement and was not aware of any such demand by the Congress or any other party.

If such a complaint is made, the election watchdog goes through the recording as well as transcript of the episode and takes a decision, he said.

A similar complaint was made by Congress against the programme during the Haryana assembly polls but the EC had not found anything “objectionable”, he noted.