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EC puts curbs on Yogi, Mayawati campaign

By PTI Updated: Apr 15, 2019 11:15 pm

New Delhi, April 15 (PTI): The Election Commission on Monday “censured” Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and BSP supremo Mayawati for their communal remarks and barred them from campaigning for 72 and 48 hours respectively.

The poll panel has issued two separate orders against Adityanath and Mayawati and said these will come into force from 6 am on Tuesday.

The orders of the commission came soon after the Supreme Court took note of the communal remarks made by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo and the chief minister during their Lok Sabha poll campaigns.

The court has asked the poll watchdog about the action it has initiated against them.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi has summoned a representative of the Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday while agreeing to examine the poll panel’s contention that it has limited legal powers to deal with hate speeches of politicians during electioneering.

In its order related to Adityanath, the commission said, it “strongly condemns” the impugned statement made by him and “censured” him for “misconduct”.

Using its constitutional powers under Article 324 of the Constitution, the EC barred him from “holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows and interviews, public utterances in media (print, electronic and social media) in connection with the ongoing elections for 72 hours (three days) from 6.00 am on April 16.”

In another order, the commission also censured and “strongly” condemned Mayawati for her remarks.The EC has barred her from campaigning for 48 hours or two days.

On being asked about the different time periods for the two leaders, a senior EC functionary explained: “It is for the second time that the Uttar Pradesh CM has been issued a show cause notice by the EC. On April 5, he was asked to be ‘careful’ in the future.”

“This is the first show cause and action against the BSP president … the severity of the action is, therefore, different,” he said.

The functionary said the commission examined the two issues on April 14 and April 15, and came up with the final decision on Monday as it felt a clear message should go out to the politicians.

The EC has written to chief electoral officers of all states informing them about their decision on Adityanath and Mayawati to ensure that its orders are not violated.

Mayawati was issued the notice for her speech in Deoband in which she appealed to Muslims to not vote for the Congress.

The BSP chief has violated the Model Code of Conduct, the poll panel found.

Chief Minister Adityanath was served the notice for his “Ali” and “Bajrang Bali” remarks while addressing a rally in Meerut.

He compared the Lok Sabha elections to a contest between ‘Ali’, a revered figure in Islam, and Bajrang Bali, the Hindu god Hanuman.

In its order on Adityanath, the poll panel observed that being the chief minister of a state, he has an “added responsibility to not only uphold the basic tenets, including secularism, of the Constitution of India, but also to display the same in his public appearances”.

The order said, the EC is convinced that Adityanath made a “highly provocative” speech which had the “tone and tenor” to aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred between religious communities.

The poll panel told Mayawati that being a senior leader, she should have “desisted” from making such comments that have the “undertone and propensity to polarise the elections” in several constituencies due to the reach of the media.

The EC had taken a similar step in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls when it had banned BJP leader Amit Shah and SP leader Azam Khan from campaigning in Uttar Pradesh on April 11 for their controversial remarks.

The ban on Shah was lifted in a few days after he assured the poll body that he would not disturb public tranquillity and law and order. Since Khan had not given a similar assurance, the ban on him had continued.

By PTI Updated: Apr 15, 2019 11:15:35 pm