The Election Commission (EC) issued a show-cause notice to Union minister Anurag Thakur on Tuesday for his "desh ke gaddaron ko" slogan at a poll meeting, saying prima facie the remarks had the "potential of disturbing communal harmony" and the BJP MP had violated the election code and electoral law.
Thakur has been asked to respond to the notice before noon on 30 January (Thursday), "failing which the commission shall take a decision without any reference" to him.
In the show-cause notice, the Election Commission referred to Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act, dealing with attempts to promote enmity or hatred between different classes of citizens on the grounds of religion, race, caste, community or language.
The notice also said the Election Commission received a report from the Delhi Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) on Tuesday, which said Thakur chanted "desh ke gaddaron ko" (the traitors of the country) and the crowd responded, saying "goli maro sa*** ko" (shoot them down) several times while addressing a public meeting in Delhi's Rithala Assembly constituency on Monday.
It said the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader also made "certain other objectionable statements" at the meeting.
The Delhi CEO Office on Tuesday said it had submitted a report to the Election Commission on the "provocative" language used by Thakur while canvassing for BJP candidates contesting the 8 February Delhi Assembly polls.
West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma also came under the Election Commission's scanner after he said that the Kashmiri Pandit exodus from Kashmir could happen in Delhi, warning that lakhs of anti-CAA protesters in Shaheen Bagh could enter people's homes to "kill and rape women".
Earlier on Tuesday, the Delhi Congress had approached the Election Commission, urging it to ban BJP leaders Thakur and Verma for making "provocative statements to incite communal violence" ahead of polls in the National Capital.
"BJP's star campaigners Parvesh Verma and Anurag Thakur have used objectionable language. Top BJP leaders, including Home Minister Amit Shah, are going around the lanes and bylanes of Delhi, making provocative statements to polarise the atmosphere and incite communal violence. The BJP is doing so out of frustration," senior Congress leader Ajay Maken said.
"The Election Commission has promised us that it won't let it happen," Maken said, adding that they have called a meeting of all senior poll and police officials on 31 January.
"The Election Commission has sought a report from the Chief Electoral Officer on Thakur and Verma's remarks and because they are 'star campaigners', the Delhi CEO cannot issue them a notice. Only the Election Commission of India can do so," Maken said.
"The EC has accepted that they have made provocative statements and we have demanded that they be banned from campaigning," he added.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Jan 29, 2020 00:15:53 IST