ECI temporarily bars Yogi Adityanath, Mayawati from campaigning

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 16, 2019

Following the Election Commission direction, Yogi Adityanath and Mayawati can't address any public meeting, campaigns or address the media from tomorrow.

The poll body had issued a notice to Yogi Adityanath over his recent "Bajrang Bali and Ali" remarks while addressing an election rally in Meerut, whereas Mayawati was issued one over her appeal to Muslims to not "divide votes by voting for Congress" remarks at the Deoband rally.

In 2014, the Commission took action against BJP chief Amit Shah and Samajwadi Party's Azam Khan for hate speech.

Days later, hitting out at Mayawati, Yogi Adityanath said, "If the Congress, the SP and the BSP have faith in Ali, then we too have faith in Bajrang Bali" - a comment that triggered outraged protests from the opposition.

The two were banned from campaigning in an uncommon censure under Article 324 of the Constitution that deals with power of the EC to conduct national and Assembly elections.

The EC reprimanded Khan saying his "indecent", "derogatory and totally uncalled for" statement violated the model code of conduct and banned him from holding any public meetings, processions, rallies, road shows and interviews or public utterances in media in connection with the ongoing elections for 72 hours from 6 a.m. on Tuesday.

Just after the apex court made a decision to examine the EC's powers, both Mr Adityanath and Ms Mayawati were restrained from participating in election meetings for three and two days respectively.

Adityanath had made controversial remarks about the Muslim League and had dubbed them as a "green virus" while suggesting that Hindu and Muslim voters are facing off in a "Ali-Bajrang Bali" contest. The court also chose to examine the ambit of the EC's powers, asking if the poll panel is even aware of its powers to force errant political leaders to fall in line.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi has summoned a representative of the Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday while agreeing to examine the poll panel's contention that it has limited legal powers to deal with hate speeches of politicians during electioneering. However, after the EC's order she will not be able to attend the rally.

On being asked about the different time periods for the two leaders, a senior EC functionary explained: "It is for the second time that the Uttar Pradesh CM has been issued a show cause notice by the EC".

The counsel appearing for the poll panel said that it has already issued notices against the two politicians.

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