Mayawati and Yogi Adityanath.
The Election Commission on Monday barred BSP chief Mayawati and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from campaigning in the Lok Sabha elections for 48 and 72 hours respectively.
While the action against Mayawati came for violating the Model Code of Conduct when she asked Muslims at a rally in Saharanpur to vote in favour of the SP-BSP-RLD combine, Adityanath was barred over his "green virus" and "Ali and Bajrang Bali" comments.
"The Commission, under Article 324 of the Constitution and other powers enabling in this behalf, bars him from holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows and interviews, public utterances in media (electronic, print, social media) in connection with ongoing elections for 72 hours from 6 a.m. on April 16 (Tuesday)," the Election Commission order on Adityanath said.
In a separate order, the poll panel censured Mayawati and "strongly condemned the impugned statements made by her".
It said she would also be barred from holding any public meetings, processions, rallies, road shows and interviews, public utterance in media related to elections for 48 hours.
The Commission said that it was convinced that both leaders had made "highly provocative" speeches which had the tone and tenor to "aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred between different religious communities". It added that the two leaders had also violated provisions of the model code by making appeals to secure votes on religious lines.
The poll panel said that being senior leaders, Adityanath and Mayawati should have desisted from making statements that have the undertone and propensity to polarise the elections, which is not confined to the constituency only where the statement is made, but to the other parts as well, due to fast dissemination of information in the digital age.
"The Commission observes that being the Chief Minister of a state, Yogi Adityanath 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 appearances/meetings/speeches as well," it added.
The Election Commission had on April 11 issued notices to both Mayawati and Adityanath for violating the model code of conduct.
While the BSP leader had urged the Muslim community to vote only for SP-BSP-RLD alliance candidates, the Chief Minister had said that if the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party had faith in Ali, "we have faith in 'Bajrangbali'".
The poll panel had also asked Adityanath to explain his comment calling the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) a "virus" and saying that the Congress was infected with this "green virus."
Indo-Asian News Service
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