The Election Commission of India on Monday banned Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adiyanath from campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls for 72 hours and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati for 48 hours, starting 6 am on Tuesday. The poll panel barred both from campaigning for making "objectionable" statements in political speeches, and thereby violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
Election Commission bans UP CM Yogi Adityanath and BSP chief Mayawati from election campaigning for 72 hours & 48 hours respectively, starting from 6 am tomorrow, for violating Model Code of Conduct by making objectionable statements in their speeches. #LokSabhaElections2019 pic.twitter.com/j1cYzMY8Mr
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) April 15, 2019
At a BJP rally on 9 April, Adityanath had said that "if Ali is with the BSP-SP-RLD alliance, then Bajrangbali is with the BJP". Ali is a revered figure in Islam and Hanuman is often called Bajrangbali. Mayawati made the "objectionable" comments during her speech in Deoband in which she allegedly appealed to Muslims not to vote for the Congress.
The Election Commission issued two separate orders against Adityanath and Mayawati, which came hours after the Supreme Court, on Monday, took cognisance of the "hate speeches" made by the two leaders during campaigning. The court sought to know from the Election Commission what action it had initiated against them.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi summoned a representative of the poll panel on Tuesday, while agreeing to examine its contention that it has limited legal power to deal with hate speeches of politicians during electioneering.
The bench referred to submissions of the Election Commission that they can issue notices, then an advisory and finally lodge a complaint against an errant politician for violating the Model Code of Conduct for giving hate speeches during campaigns by invoking caste and religion.
"The Election Commission says it is toothless," the bench said, adding that it would examine the aspect relating to the poll panel's power to deal with hate speeches during poll campaign.
During the hearing, the counsel for the Election Commission said the poll panel had already issued notices to the two politicians. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Tuesday.
The bench made the observations while hearing a petition filed by an NRI yoga teacher based in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), seeking a direction to the Election Commission to take "strict action" against political parties if their spokespersons make remarks based on caste and religion in the media during elections.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Apr 15, 2019 23:24:22 IST