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BJP Used Madison Square Speech to Seek Votes, alleges Opposition

Opposition party has claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has misused the official machinery at Madison Square Garden in New York to seek votes in the upcoming October 15 Maharashtra assembly polls, on Monday.

The party was slammed after some Marathi news channels aired Modi’s Madison Square speech during the 9pm prime time slot.

NCP Chief Sharad Pawar said, "You (Modi) didn’t go to the US as a BJP leader. They should not have used the speech for the election campaign. The PM’s office is an institution and he has the same responsibility as us in maintaining the dignity of the PM’s office. He has reduced the prestige of the PM’s post."

Apart from Pawar, earlier, Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray had criticised Modi for using official machinery for campaigning during the assembly polls. He had also questioned the Election Commission’s silence on the matter.

However, Shiv Sena has taken a different stand on the issue. The party MP Sanjay Raut said that Shiv Sena was not opposed to the speech aired on the Marathi news channels.

On Sunday, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray was praised by Pawar for "working hard" to strengthen his party after the demise of his father and party founder Bal Thackeray in 2012. “After Balasaheb’s death, you (media) wasted a lot of ink on contemplating the future of Shiv Sena. But, Uddhav has proved you wrong. He is doing well to strengthen the party which is more than expected. He is working hard,” he said.

Meanwhile, according to reports, Congress is reportedly filed a written complaint to the Election Commission regarding the issue and has demanded to take action against BJP as well as the Prime Minister. Claiming it as a case of paid news, one of the congress men questioned, "We have written to the EC…The BJP might claim that they are ads, however how can they claim that a half-hour-long speech is an advertisement?"

However, state BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye said, "We are not airing US president Barack Obama meeting Modi, but we are airing the Madison Square meeting which was not a government but a private programme. We are paying the channels for its use as an advertisement, they can complain to the EC if they feel strongly about it."

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