Poll Panel Bans Azam Khan from Campaigning for 72 Hrs and Maneka Gandhi For 48 Hrs For Violations
While Khan was penalised for his sexist jibe against Jaya Prada, Gandhi’s ban came after she stirred a controversy for asking Muslims in Sultanpur that she would not want to give them jobs if they did not vote for her.
File photos of Union Minister Maneka Gandhi and SP leader Azam Khan.
New Delhi: Hours after banning Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and BSP supremo Mayawati from campaigning ahead of second phase of Lok Sabha election, the Election Commission (EC) on Monday continued its crackdown on loose talks during canvassing by political leaders and barred Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Azam Khan and Union Minister Maneka Gandhi from campaigning for 72 hours and 48 hours, respectively.
While Khan was penalised for his sexist jibe against actor-turned politician Jaya Prada who is contesting on a BJP ticket from Rampur, Gandhi’s ban came after she stirred a controversy for asking Muslims in Sultanpur that she would not want to give them jobs if they did not vote for her.
The commission said it found that Khan’s statement was not only indecent, but also derogatory and totally uncalled for. It further said that Khan seemed to have not changed in his way of campaigning since being censured by the EC in 2014.
Regarding Gandhi’s speech, the EC said it violated provisions of the Model Code of Conduct that bar political parties from securing votes by appealing on the basis of caste or communal feelings and bribing or intimidating voters.
Without naming Jaya Prada, Khan had told a gathering in Rampur on Sunday, "... you got represented (by her) for 10 years. (aapne das saal apna pratinidhitwa karwaya)".
"People of Rampur, people of Uttar Pradesh and people of India, it took you 17 years to understand her reality. But, I could recognize it in 17 days that she wears a khaki underwear. (Rampur waalo, Uttar Pradesh waalo, Hindustan waalo, usski asliyat samajhne mein aapko 17 baras lag gaye. Main 17 dinon mein pehchaan gaya ki inke neeche kaa jo underwear hai, woh khaki rang kaa hai), said Khan.
On Friday, Gandhi, the Union Minister for Women and Child Development, while addressing a poll rally in a Muslim-dominated village, had said she would not like it if she won without the support of Muslims.
“My feelings get hurt. If Muslims then come to me asking for work, then I will think let it be, how does it matter? After all, a job is a deal,” making it clear that Muslims should not expect jobs if they don’t vote for her.
The three-minute speech has gone viral on social media and sparked outrage for its blatantly communal content.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court pulled up the poll body for its failure to take action against hate speech during the Lok Sabha election campaign, following which the bans on Mayawati and Adityanath were imposed.
The EC, in its order, said it was convinced that both the leaders “made highly provocative speech which has the tone and tenor to aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred between different religious communities”.
The poll body has been under the scanner for its meek response to poll code violations, especially when it let off the UP chief minister with a warning after he described the Indian Army as ‘Modi ki Sena’.
The EC had asked Adityanath to be careful in future and sent him another notice when he dared the Opposition that if they “have faith in Ali, we have faith in Bajrangbali”. His “green virus” remark aimed at the Muslim League had also drawn flak, with opposition parties demanding action against the UP chief minister.
In his response to the notice, Adityanath said he made the statement in retaliation to Mayawati’s appeal to Muslim voters in Deoband, which was also taken note of by the EC.
Mayawati had cautioned voters, “particularly Muslims”, against splitting their votes in the eight western UP seats that went to polls in the first phase on April 11.
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