Election Commission issues gag orders for Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and BSP supremo Mayawati for violating poll code of conduct
NEW DELHI — The Election Commission (EC) on Monday finally acted against hate speeches in the run-up to the national election and barred BSP leader Mayawati and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from campaigning in the Lok Sabha elections for 48 and 72 hours respectively, starting from Tuesday morning.
While the action against Mayawati came for violating the model code of conduct (MCC) when she asked Muslims at a rally in Saharanpur to vote in a consolidated manner in favour of the SP-BSP-RLD combine, Adityanath was barred over his “Ali and Bajrang Bali” comment made in Meerut.
“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 EC order on Adityanath said.
The commission’s orders came hours after the Supreme Court told the panel that it could not drag its feet and had to act promptly against poll code violations. The court had given the poll panel time till tomorrow to report on the action taken against the two prominent politicians for their controversial speeches, according to media reports.
In a separate order, the poll panel censured Mayawati and “strongly condemned the impugned statements made by her”.
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 EC order says.
“The Commission observes that being a senior leader, Mayawati should have desisted herself in 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 order said.
The Election Commission had on April 11 issued notices to both Mayawati and Adityanath for violating the model code of conduct.
The commission, which has been criticised by political parties across the spectrum for either turning a blind eye to poll code violations or being too slow, issued the gag orders soon after.
This is the first time in the 2019 election campaign that the Election Commission has invoked its powers under the Constitution. But there is a clear precedent from 2014 Lok Sabha elections when BJP’s Amit Shah and Samajwadi Party’s Azam Khan were barred from campaigning for the remaining duration of the election after they failed to stick to the model code of conduct, writes the Hindustan Times.
Yogi Adityanath’s gag order is for a longer duration because this is his second code violation. The Election Commission noted that it had already advised the chief minister to be more careful about his public statements on 5 April after his controversial speech that allegedly politicised the army action.
(With inputs from IANS)