The Election Commission on Monday barred BSP chief Mayawati and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from campaigning in the Lok Sabha elections for 48 and 72 hours respectively.
While the action against Mayawati came for violating the Model Code of Conduct when she asked Muslims at a rally in Saharanpur to vote in favour of the SP-BSP-RLD combine, Adityanath was barred over his “green virus” and “Ali and Bajrang Bali” comments.
“The Commission, under Article 324 of the Constitution and other powers enabling in this behalf, bars him from holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows and interviews, public utterances in media (electronic, print, social media) in connection with ongoing elections for 72 hours from 6 a.m. on April 16 (Tuesday),” the Election Commission order on Adityanath said.
In a separate order, the poll panel censured Mayawati and “strongly condemned the impugned statements made by her”.
It said she would also be barred from holding any public meetings, processions, rallies, road shows and interviews, public utterance in media related to elections for 48 hours.
The Commission said that it was convinced that both leaders had made “highly provocative” speeches which had the tone and tenor to “aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred between different religious communities”. It added that the two leaders had also violated provisions of the model code by making appeals to secure votes on religious lines.
The poll panel said that being senior leaders, Adityanath and Mayawati should have desisted from making statements that have the undertone and propensity to polarise the elections, which is not confined to the constituency only where the statement is made, but to the other parts as well, due to fast dissemination of information in the digital age.
“The Commission observes that being the Chief Minister of a state, 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 appearances/meetings/speeches as well,” it added.
The Election Commission had on April 11 issued notices to both Mayawati and Adityanath for violating the model code of conduct.
While the BSP leader had urged the Muslim community to vote only for SP-BSP-RLD alliance candidates, the Chief Minister had said that if the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party had faith in Ali, “we have faith in ‘Bajrangbali'”.
The poll panel had also asked Adityanath to explain his comment calling the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) a “virus” and saying that the Congress was infected with this “green virus”.
Like in 2018, Kamal Nath launches poll drive from Ujjain
Former chief minister and Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath arrived here for ‘Darshan’ of Mahakal before the start of his campaign for the mini-midterm elections involving 24 assembly seats in the state.
The Ujjain visit was due on July 3 but was washed out due to heavy rains.
There are striking similarities between his present campaign and the one he led in 2018 to bring the Congress back into power after 15 years. He had started the campaign with a ‘pooja’ at Ujjain. The key difference of course is the absence of Jyotiraditya Scindia, who blindsided him and his departure with a big chunk of the party caused the current campaign. Scindia was the campaign convener then.
Kamal Nath has few more pilgrimages lined up in the next few days before he gets to the war-room to be set up in Gwalior, the Scindia bastion.
Shortly after the ‘pooja’ and meeting with the party colleagues, Kamal Nath left for Badnawar to address the first rally — ‘Loktantra Bachao’ (save democracy) rally.
Though Scindia and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh were the senior leaders in the party, Jyotiraditya was presented as the youth face to draw the electorate. Singh was asked to bring about patch up between various factions. Kamal Nath was thus the key campaigner. He retains that status. Kamal Nath who drew good crowds in 2018 under Shivraj Chouhan’s rule has made a striking start with Ujjain Congress leaders responding in large numbers despite the lockdown curbs. The temple town, once part of the Gwalior state has responded with hundreds of billboards greeting him.
Kamal Nath plans to list the achievements of his party and development works during the 15-month rule to seek return to power.
Kamal Nath held a one-on-one discussion with prospective candidates to set the selection process rolling. The party plans to have 24 call centres, one in each constituency that will witness the by-elections. The party workers will receive voters’ feedback and inputs for the prospective candidates and the agenda to be set on local issues. The same strategy will be adopted in all 24 constituencies this time also.
Unlike in 2018 when the main war room was at Bhopal, the party is expected to hire a bungalow in Gwalior where Kamal Nath plans to move to lead the campaign.
Make call records of Vikas Dubey public: Samajwadi Party
The Samajwadi Party (SP) has demanded that the call detail records of gangster Vikas Dubey, the main accused in the killing of eight policemen in Kanpur, should be made public.
“The state government should make the call details of the gangster public so that people can know the names of leaders who were in touch with the criminal. Vikas Dubey is now being termed as a terrorist and it is important for everyone to know about those leaders who were giving him protection,” said SP MLC Sunil Singh Sajan.
Sajan claimed that the police had failed to trace Dubey even after five days of the killing of police personnel.
“He could be hiding in the house of a BJP leader for all you know. Thorough searches must be carried out and his links must be made public without delay,” he said.
The SP leader said that the fact that Vikas Dubey’s name was not included in the top criminal list of Kanpur, shows that he enjoyed patronage from the ruling party.
It is noteworthy that in a video clip that went viral on Monday, Dubey was seen talking about his links with BJP MLAs Abhijeet Sanga and Bhagwati Sagar.
He said that the two leaders had helped him when he faced police action in 2017.
Abhijeet Sanga has vehemently denied having any links with the gangster. “My constituency is Bithoor in Kanpur and people from the adjoining village come to me for help. In fact, several times I have recommended action in cases where Vikas Dubey was supporting the other parties,” he said.
Sanga further said that it was typical of Dubey to align himself with political leaders belonging to the ruling parties.
Bhagwati Sagar, BJP MLA from Bilhaur, meanwhile, said that he had not pleaded in any case against Dubey. He said that this was an attempt to malign his image.
Both the MLAs said that Dubey video should be investigated.
Why has status quo ante not been insisted on, asks Rahul Gandhi
Amid reports of Chinese troops withdrawal from the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has raised a set of questions, saying when the national interest is “paramount”, government’s duty is to protect it, and why the status quo ante is not being insisted on?
Taking to Twitter, he asked when national interest is Paramount then “why has status quo ante not been insisted on?”
He also raised questions, why was China allowed to “justify” the murder of 20 unarmed jawans in our territory? and Why is there no mention of the territorial sovereignty of Galwan valley?
The Congress has been targeting the government on the Chinese incursions in the Galwan Valley for quite some time.
Indian and Chinese troops on Monday retreated two kilometres each along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley, where 20 Indian and unknown number of Chinese soldiers were killed in a violent face-off last month.
The disengagement between India and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) happened as per the agreed terms in the Corps Commander’s meeting.
With the retreat from both sides, a four kilometre no-man zone has been created. “Four kilometres in the highly mountainous terrain like Galwan valley, deprives both sides to see each other’s installations and reinforcements,” sources said.
The two sides have also agreed, sources said, not to do any aerial surveillance of the retreated area, to rebuild trust which was badly damaged due to the June 15 bloodbath.
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