New Delhi, Apr 15 : Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday censured Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and BSP chief Mayawati for violation of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and barred them from poll campaigning for a limited period.
While observing that both the leaders violated MCC by using communal remarks, the ECI barred them from holding public meetings, processions, road shows and giving media interviews and public utterances in media including social media, for 72 hours for Mr Adityanath and 48 hours for Mayawati starting 0600 hours on April 16.
"The Commission, under Article 324 of the Constitution, bars him (Mr Adityanath) from holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows, and interview, public utterances in media (electronic, print, social media etc) in connection with ongoing elections for 72 hours from 0600 hours on April 16," the poll body said in its order.
In a separate order the ECI barred Ms Mayawati from campaigning from 48 hours from 0600 hours on April 16.
Earlier, the Commission had warned Mr Adityanath after he was found guilty of his remarks, in which he had said the Indian Army as 'Modiji ki Sena' and asked him to desist from making such statements.
The BJP leader made another controversy calling Indian Union Muslim League as a 'green virus', an apparent remark on the candidature of Congress president Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad, Kerala, where Muslim League is an important constituent of Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).
Days after the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister stirred another controversy and said "if the Congress, the SP and the BSP have faith in Ali, then we too have faith in Bajrang Bali".
The Commission has noted that Mr Adityanath accepted using the reference of 'haraa virus' (green virus) and 'Bajrang Bali' and observed that "being chief minister of a state, Mr 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 public appearances, meetings, speeches as well".
"The Commission is convinced that he has made highly provocative speech which has the tone and tenor to aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred between different religious communities" the Commission said and added that he has violated the provisions of MCC.
In its letter, the Commission noted that Ms Mayawati "accepted that in her speech a special mention was made to the minority community of Muslims to vote in a consolidated manner in favour of the candidates of coalition parties" and observed that, "being a senior leader, Ms 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 this digital age".
The Commission's order came hours after the Supreme Court expressed its dissatisfaction over the failure of the poll body that it could not take action against communal remarks and hate speech during the Lok Sabha poll campaigns. (UNI)