India bans BJP’s chief minister from campaign after anti-Muslim comment

Lester Mason
April 17, 2019

Referring to the campaign trail in Kerala, where the Congress is allied with the Muslim League, Adityanath is reported to have said that the Congress has been infected with the "green virus". While expressing displeasure over the EC not taking quick action against hate speeches, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi gave the poll panel time till Tuesday to explain its lawyer's submissions that the EC is largely "powerless" and "toothless" in such matters.

According to reports, the Election Commission "condemned" the two speeches and "censured" the politicians before issuing a gag order.

EC's counsel Amit Sharma informed the court that notices were issued to both Mayawati and Adityanath on April 11 but they had not filed their replies.

The notice was issued to Mayawati for her speech in Deoband appealing to people of a particular religion to vote in favour of SP, BSP and RLD alliance.

Azam Khan and Maneka Gandhi were banned from campaigning for 72 hours and 48 hours respectively, starting from April 16, 10 am. In doing so, the Election Commission invoked Sections 123 and 125 of the Representation of People's Act, 1951 which penalise the promotion of communal and caste differences for electoral gains.

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.

"If you (Opposition) have faith in Ali, we have faith in Bajrangbali", Adityanath said at a rally.

The EC may have to explain on Tuesday how it chose to take action when Mayawati and Adityanath had not filed reply to the notices. "The hurried nature of the action shows that it was taken under pressure".

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".

The apex court said then it was appropriate to examine the scope of powers of the poll panel which is also a constitutional body.

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.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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