New Delhi: After taking a tough action against Yogi Adityanath and Mayawati, the Election Commission on Monday evening barred SP leader Azam Khan and Union Minister & BJP leader Maneka Gandhi from from campaigning in the Lok Sabha elections for 48 and 72 hours respectively.
It will be effective from 10 am tomorrow. Without taking names, Khan on Sunday had said at an election rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur district that it took “you 17 years to understand her reality” but, “I could recognise it in 17 days that she wears a khaki underwear”. The BJP has pitted actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada against Khan from the Rampur Lok Sabha seat.
Khan was slapped on Monday with an FIR by the UP Police after the BJP mounted a sharp political attack comparing his “disgusting” comments to disrobing of Draupadi in Mahabharata.
During the last Lok Sabha elections in 2014, the EC had imposed a ban on Khan from campaigning in Uttar Pradesh for his provocative speeches and had also lodged an FIR against him.
Union minister Maneka Gandhi ‘s communal remarks also came under EC lens after she told Muslims to vote for her as they will need her once the Lok Sabha elections are over.
“We are not Mahatma Gandhi’s children that we keep giving and not get anything in return, she said in Muslim-dominated Turabkhani area last Thursday.
Gandhi, the BJP candidate from Sultanpur Lok Sabha constituency, claimed she is all set to win and told the Muslim audience that you might need me tomorrow.
The Congress reacted strongly with spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala saying she is trying to divide people on the basis of caste and community.
“I am winning. I am winning because of the help and love of the people,” Maneka Gandhi said at the meeting in Sultanpur, a constituency earlier held by her son Varun Gandhi.
“But if my victory is without the Muslims, I will not feel very good,” she said, adding she will be left with a bitter feeling.
“If Muslims come for some work after this, I will think why bother, what difference will it make.”
Earlier during the day, the Commission imposed a nation-wide ban on Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati from campaigning for 72 and 48 hours respectively from Tuesday for their “provocative” communal remarks, which it said had the “propensity to polarise the elections”.
Crying foul, Mayawati said “The Election Commission’s order deprives me of my Constitutional right, while Modi and Amit Shah are given a free run.”
“I did not seek votes on the basis of caste, religion. I did not provoke any religious sentiments,”she said in a press conference addressed at 9pm on Monday.
This is a huge setback to the grand alliance as a huge rally was organised in Agra on Tuesday and Mayawati was scheduled to address Dalit supporters who were coming in large numbers. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and RLD chief Ajit Singh would be addressing the rally and public meetings sans Mayawati now.
The Election Commission order to bar these leaders came within few hours of the Supreme Court taking note of the communal remarks by them during their Lok Sabha poll campaigns and asking the poll watchdog about the action it has initiated against them.