EC cracks whip, bars Maya, Yogi rallies
New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) on Monday barred BSP leader 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 (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 am on April 16 (Tuesday),” the EC 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 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.
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, Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party had faith in Ali, “we have faith in ‘Bajrangbali'”.
Earlier, the Supreme Court greed to examine statements made by political leaders violative of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) after the Election Commission admitted it was “toothless” and “powerless” vis-a-vis hate speeches made during the election campaign.
The court will take up the matter at 10.30 am on Tuesday, saying it wants to examine the scope of powers of the Election Commission.
Speeches by BSP chief Mayawati, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and others were cited as violations of the MCC.
The Election Commission told the court that it can merely issue notice, then an advisory and lodge a criminal complaint in the case of repeated violations.
The counsel for the poll body said it was “toothless” and “powerless” against hate and religious speeches made during the election campaign.
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 EC counsel informed the court that it had already sought reply from Mayawati regarding her election speech seeking votes on the basis of religion. Mayawati was supposed to reply by April 12 but the EC was yet to get it.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked: “What do you propose to do?”
The EC counsel replied that it does not have the power to de-recognise or disqualify the person and it can only send advisories. And if the candidate continues to violate the MCC, then it can file a compliant.
The Supreme Court directed the Election Commission official to be present in court on Tuesday.