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ECI acts against Yogi, Mayawati, Azam Khan, Maneka for objectionable speeches

 
The Election Commission of India (ECI) today barred Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and SP leader Azam Khan from campaigning in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections for 72 hours and BSP chief Mayawati and Union Minister Maneka Gandhi for 48 hours.
 
The action was taken against them for election speeches made by them while campaigning in Uttar Pradesh in recent days, which were found to be in violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for political parties and candidates.
 
In similarly worded orders, the Commission strongly condemned the impugned statements made by Adityanath and Mayawadi and censured them for the said "misconduct".
 
The action against Adityanath came for his "green virus" and "Ali and Bajrang Bali" comments at a public meeting at Meerut on April 9, while the curbs were placed on Mayawati for appealing to Muslims to vote for the SP-BSP-RLD alliance at an election rally in Saharanpur on April 7 while campaigning for the elections in Uttar Pradesh.
 
The Commission had issued a show-cause notice to Adityanath for violation of certain provisions of the MCC and the Representation of the People Act, 1951 with his "objectionable statements".
 
In its order, the ECI noted that it had received a reply to the notice on April 13, in which Adityanath had inter-alia accepted using the references to "green virus" and "Bajrang Bali".
 
"Whereas, the Commission observes that being the Chief Minister of a State, Sh. Yogi Adityanath has an added responsibility to not only uphold the basis tents, including Secularism, of the Constitution but also to display the same in his public appearances/meetings/speeches as well;
 
"Whereas the Commission has again seen the video recording of his impugned speech and is convinced that he has made highly provocative speech which has the tone and tenor to aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred between different religious communities, and thus violative of aforesaid provisions of Model Code of Conduct," the order said.
 
The Commission recalled that it had, in another matter, through an order dated April 5, advised Adityanath to be more careful in public utterances.
 
It felt that, being a senior leader, Adityanath should have desisted from making statements "that have the undertone and propensity to polarize the elections, which is not confinted to the constitutency only where the statement is made, but to the other parts as well due to fast dissemination of information in this digital age".
 
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The order said the Commission, while deliberating this matter on April 14, had expressed its concern about such public utterances, "which contaminate the electoral process".
 
The Commission said it was of the view that Adityanath, in his impugned speech, had appealed to secure votes on religious lines that tantamount to violation of provisions of para 3 and para 4 of Part I of the MCC, which specify that:
 
(3) There shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes...
(4) All parties and candidates shall avoid scrupulously all activities which are "corrupt practices" and offences under the election law, such as bribing of voters, intimidation of voters...".
 
It also said that Adityanath had disobeyed the Supreme Court's judgement made in Civil Appeal No. 3 of 1992 (Abhiram Singh vs C. D. Commacher and others), with Civil Appeal No. 8339 of 1995.
 
The Commission strongly condemned the impugned statements made by  Adityanath and censured hm for the said "misconduct".
 
"The Commission, under Article 324 of the Constitution of India and all  other powers enabling in this behalf, bars him from holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows and interviews, utterances in media (electronic, print, social media), etc. in connection with ongoing elections for 72 hours from 06:00 am on 16th April, 2019 (Tuesday)," the order added.
 
In the case of Mayawati, the commission had issued her a show-cause notice on April 11 for the "objectionable statements" made during a rally on April 7 at Deoband in Saharanpur.
 
In her response, she had inter-alia accepted that in her speech she had made a special mention was made to the Muslims to vote in a consolidated manner in favour of the candidate of the coalition parties.
 
The Commission said it had seen the video recording of her impugned speech and was convinced that he had made a "highly provocative speech which has the tone and tenor to aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred between different religious communities, and thus violative of ... provisions of Model Code of Conduct."
 
Observing that Mayawati, as a senior leader, should have desisted from making such statements, the Commission expressed its concern about such public utterances, which "contaminate the electoral process".
 
The Commission said it was of the view that Mayawati had appealed to secure votes on religious lines and violated the MCC.
 
It strongly condemned her statements and censured her for the "misconduct".
 
"The Commission, under Article 324 of the Constitution and all other powers enabling in this behalf, bars her from holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows and interviews, public utterances in media (electronic, print, social media) etc in connection with ongoing elections for 48 hours from 06:00 am on 16th April, 2019 (Tuesday)," the order added.
 
The Commission forwarded copies of the orders to the Chief Electoral Officers of all States and Union Territories for information and compliance.
 
Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan attracted the action for his "khakhi underwear" remarks against BJP candidate and actress-turned-politician Jaya Prada during a speech made bhim at Rampur yesterday.
 
A first information report (FIR) has been lodged against Khan under Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 for the "indecent and repugnant comments" against Jaya Prada.
 
The Commission observed that the impugned statement by Khan was "not only indecent but also derogatory and totally uncalled for".
 
It recalled that Khan had been banned from campaigning in Uttar Pradesh in 2014 for his misconduct and provocative speech during the General Elections that year and had also been censured by the Commission.
 
The Commission observed that Khan had not changed his way of campaigning and was still indulging in using "very objectionable language in election campaigning".
 
Holding his latest remarks to be in violation of the MCC, the Commission strongly condemned the impugned statements made by and reprimanded him for the misconduct. It also barred him from campaigning for 72 hours beginning 10 am tomorrow.
 
In the case of Maneka Gandhi, the Assistant Returning Officer of Sultanpur constituency had issued a show-cause notice to her on April 12 for the speech made by her on the previous day in Sultanpur.
 
In her response, Gandhi said, "As a part of my election campaign in a new constituency, I was only giving a speech to introduce myself and the work that I have done for people in my earlier constituency, Pilibhit, and elsehwere, where I have earlier been elected as MP."
 
The Commission said it was convinced that the statement made by Gandhi was in violation of the provisions of para 3 and para 4 of part I of the MCC. It also held that she had violated the relevant sections of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 which deals with "bribery" and "corrupt practices".
 
The Commission strongly condemned the impugned statements and reprimanded Gandhi for the said misconduct. It barred her from campaigning for 48 hours from 10 am tomorrow.
 
NNN

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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