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EC Sends Notice to Mamata Banerjee for Asking Muslims to Vote En bloc for TMC, Seeks Clarification

File photo of Mamata Banerjee.

File photo of Mamata Banerjee.

The poll panel sought clarification from Banerjee following a complaint filed by BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

The Election Commission has sent a notice to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleging her recent speech was in violation of the model code of conduct and has demanded a reply in 48 hours. Taking cognisance of a complaint filed by BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the poll panel sought clarification from Banerjee regarding her April 3 speech in Hooghly’s Tarakeshwar where, while addressing a public rally, she appealed to Muslim voters to ‘not let their votes be split’.

Responding to the EC notice, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra questioned the poll body’s inaction over complaints made by TMC. “Mamatadi issued notice by @ECISVEEP on @BJP’s complaint. What about TMC complaints of 1. Video evidence of BJP candidate distributing cash. 2. Cash coupons distributed to attend BJP mtng & vote. Gentlemen – at least keep up the farce of impartiality!” she tweeted.

The BJP on Monday approached the Election Commission seeking action against Banerjee alleging that she has violated Representation of the People’s Act by asking Muslims to come together and vote for her party TMC in the state assembly polls. A BJP leaders’ delegation, including Naqvi, party’s national secretary Sunil Deodhar, its leader GVL Narasimha Rao, met top officials of the poll panel and submitted a memorandum demanding action against Banerjee and her party.

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After the meeting, Naqvi said that in an election speech TMC chief Mamata Banerjee appealed to Muslim voters not to let their votes be split among different parties and asked them to cast their votes en-bloc to her party. “She has not only violated the essentials of the Model Code of Conduct by making such remarks but this is also a criminal violation of the Representation of People Act, 1951. The poll panel should initiate action against Mamata Banerjee and her party for this violation,” Naqvi said.

Lashing out at Banerjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the TMC supremo’s appeal to Muslims reflects fears that minority votes are slipping out of her hands. Modi also pointed out that a similar appeal to Hindus by his party would have drawn the wrath of the media and the Election Commission.

Asserting that Banerjee has problems with people sporting a ’tilak’ and wearing saffron, Modi said her angry reactions indicate that she has already lost the elections. “Didi recently asked all Muslims to vote en bloc for her. It shows that the Muslim vote bank is slipping out of her hands. Had we said the same thing that all Hindus should unite, everybody would have criticised us. The EC would have sent us notices. We would have been censured,” Modi said.

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