THE Election Commission of India (ECI) has barred Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and former Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Chief Mayawati from holding public meetings, road shows, media interviews and including social media for 72 hours and 48 hours, respectively, starting from 06:00 am on April 16, 2019, for their communal remarks during election campaigning.
The ECI has exercised the powers vested in it under Article 324 of the Constitution of India.
The ECI has found them guilty of violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC)
and Representation of the People Act, 1951 by making objectionable statements related to an appeal on the basis of religion during their respective public rallies.
Earlier today, the Supreme Court, while hearing an appeal seeking action against political parties using religion and caste to seek votes, pulled the ECI up for not taking action in cases of violation of the MCC and asked if it was even aware of its powers.
To this, the ECI representative said “We don’t have any powers. We can’t bar them from contesting. We can derecognise them. We are toothless,” the ECI representative said.
After the morning mishap, the ECI, within an hour, issued orders against Yogi Adityanath and Mayawati under Article 324 of the Constitution.
BSP Chief Mayawati has been barred for 48 hours from campaigning
On April 7, 2019, BSP Chief Mayawati in her speech at a public rally at Deoband, Saharanpur, specifically asked Muslims to vote in a consolidated manner in favour of “the candidates of the coalition parties”. She accepted that she had made the statement in her reply to the show cause notice issued by the ECI on April 11, 2019.
The ECI in its order noted that “being a senior leader, Ms Mayawati should have desisted in making statements that have the undertone and propensity to polarise the elections”.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath barred for 72 hours from campaigning
The ECI had also issued a show cause notice to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for violating the MCC and Representation of the People Act, 1951 for making objectionable statements during a public rally in Meerut on April 9, 2019.
Yogi Adityanath in his reply to the ECI has accepted using the reference “Hara virus” and “Bajrang Bali”, which the ECI also noted in its order dated April 15, 2019.
“Being the Chief Minister of a State Sh. Yogi Adityanath has an added responsibility to not only uphold the basic tenets, including Secularism, of the Constitution of India but also to display the same in his public appearances/meetings/speeches as well”.
The Commission also noted that Yogi Adityanath in his speech had appealed to secure votes on religious lines that amounted to a violation of provisions of para 3 and para 4 of the MCC.
In 2014, the EC took similar action against BJP chief Amit Shah and Samajwadi Party’s Azam Khan for hate speech.
Read the Notice.