Yogi Adityanath, Mayawati censured, barred from campaigning for 72, 48 hours respectively

Rohit Kumar

Rohit Kumar

The EC ban on Ms Mayawati means she will miss the crucial joint rally of the SP-BSP-RLD in Agra on April 16.

The apex court agreed to examine statements made by political leaders violative of the model code of conduct after the poll body admitted it was "toothless" and "powerless" with regard to the hate speeches made during election campaigns. 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.

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. 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".

In a separate order, the poll panel censured Mayawati and "strongly condemned the impugned statements made by her". 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. "On April 5, he was asked to be "careful" in the future". "All other challenges are capable of early resolution", Mr Jaitley said in a Facebook post titled "Why Jammu and Kashmir, and new approach to terrorism will remain a key political issue".

The EC has written to chief electoral officers of all states informing them about their decision on Adityanath and Mayawati to ensure that its orders are not violated.

In his response to the notice, Adityanath said he made the apparently communal statement in retaliation to BSP chief Mayawati's appeal to Muslim voters in Deoband, which was also taken note of by the EC.

The Election Commission on Monday imposed restrictions on the campaigning of four senior politicians for violating the model code of conduct in Uttar Pradesh.

Retorting to Yogi's "Ali" remarks, Mayawati said people of UP should ensure that the BJP does not "get either Ali's vote or Bajrang Bali's vote".

CM Adityanath had compared the Lok Sabha election to a contest between "Ali", a revered figure in Islam, and Bajrang Bali, the Hindu god Hanuman.

By late evening, the EC also banned Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan and Union Maneka Gandhi from campaigning for similar offence.

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