Yogi Adityanath, Mayawati censured, barred from campaigning for 72, 48 hours respectively

Clay Curtis
April 16, 2019

Using its constitutional powers under Article 324 of the constitution, the EC barred him from "holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows and interviews, public utterances in media (print, electronic and social media) in connection with the ongoing elections for 72 hours (three days) from 6.00 am on April 16".

In response, Adityanath while addressing a rally in Meerut said, "You would have heard Mayawati's speech day before yesterday".

The Election Commission on Monday barred Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and BSP chief Mayawati from poll campaigning over violating Model Code of Conduct by making objectionable statements in speeches.

In separate orders, the Election Commission also "condemned" the two speeches and "censured" the politicians. "We would like to examine the matter, we want a representative of the EC who is conversant with the details to appear", a bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said. The counsel for the poll body said it was "toothless" and "powerless" against hate and religious speeches made during the election campaign.

The EC may have to explain on Tuesday how it chose to take action when Mayawati and Adityanath had not filed reply to the notices.

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The bench made the observations while hearing a petition filed by an NRI yoga teacher based in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), seeking a direction to the Election Commission to take "strict action" against political parties if their spokespersons make remarks based on caste and religion in the media during elections.

The functionary said the commission examined the two issues on April 14 and April 15, and came up with the final decision on Monday as it felt a clear message should go out to the politicians.

Adityanath had made controversial remarks about the Muslim League and had dubbed them as a "green virus" while suggesting that Hindu and Muslim voters are facing off in a "Ali-Bajrang Bali" contest. However, after the EC's order she will not be able to attend the rally.

While Maywati has been pulled up for asking Muslims to vote for BSP-SP alliance, Yogi Adityanath has been reprimanded for his Ali vs Bajrang Bali campaign. But there is a clear precedent from 2014 Lok Sabha elections when BJP's Amit Shah and Samajwadi Party's Azam Khan were barred from campaigning for the remaining duration of the election after they failed to stick to the model code of conduct.

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