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EC seeks report on PM's Balakot remarks

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission has taken cognisance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks asking first-time voters to dedicate their vote to those who carried out the air strike in Balakot and has sought a report from poll officials in Maharashtra.

Sources in the poll panel said Tuesday that the chief electoral officer of Maharashtra had been asked to submit a report at the earliest.

Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared treading on sensitive ground, as he asked first-time voters to dedicate their vote to those who carried out the air strike in Balakot.

"Can your first vote be dedicated to those who carried out the air strike," Modi said, appealing to first-time voters at a poll rally here in Latur district of Maharashtra.

"I want to tell the first-time voters: can your first vote be dedicated to the veer jawans (valiant soldiers) who carried out the air strike in Pakistan).

"Can your first vote be dedicated to the veer shaheed (brave martyrs) of Pulwama (terror attack)," Modi said.

The PM said the first-time voters should remember that their first vote is something which they will remember for the rest of their lives. "You will always remember to whom did you vote and in which election," Modi said.

"Can your first vote be dedicated to (the cause of) providing pucca houses to the poor. Should not your first vote go for providing water in farms of farmers," he said.

"Should not you vote for 'healthcare for all' and the Ayushman Bharat scheme," Modi said.

Stepping up his attack on the Congress, Modi said had its leaders acted wisely, Pakistan would not have been created.

Pakistan would not have been born in 1947 had Congress leaders acted wisely in the pre-Independence era, Modi said.

The Congress party's manifesto speaks the same language as that of Pakistan, he added.

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