Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath visited a Hanuman temple on Tuesday morning, a day after the Election Commission barred him from campaigning for the Lok Sabha election for 72 hours. This includes holding any public meetings, processions, rallies, roadshows and interviews to the media (electronic, print and social media).
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath offers prayers at Hanuman Setu temple in Lucknow. pic.twitter.com/LuLReDDU5R
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Adityanath's 72-hour ban on campaigning began at 6 am on Tuesday. Under Article 324 of the Constitution, which gives the Election Commission authority to take such action, the poll panel imposed the ban on the BJP leader for delivering a communally charged "hate speech" at an election rally on 9 April.
Although Adityanath did not defy the ban by visiting the Hanuman temple on Tuesday morning, as he was not participating in a poll campaign, the move did violate the spirit of the election. It must also be noted that Adityanath chose to visit a Hanuman temple, even though the Election Commission's ban was in connection with a remark he made on "Bajrangbali".
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 Hindu god Hanuman is often called Bajrangbali.
BSP chief Mayawati was also banned from campaigning, though for a shorter 48 hours, for the comments she made while responding to Adityanath's comments. Mayawati had said: "Both Ali and Bajrang Bali are ours. It will give us good results this election."
After the Supreme Court questioned the Election Commission on Monday about what action it was taking against politicians making "hate speeches", the poll panel issued the order against Adityanath and Mayawati, as well as Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan and Union minister Maneka Gandhi.
At the follow-up hearing in the case on Tuesday, the court praised the Election Commission, saying it no longer appeared "powerless" and had finally "woken up".
The bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, also refused to consider Mayawati's plea challenging the Election Commission's 48-hour ban on campaigning, asking her counsel to file a separate appeal against the poll panel's order.
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.
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Updated Date: Apr 16, 2019 13:31:37 IST