Not just his “Kargil” remarks but a slew of other utterances landed Samajwadi Party leader and Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan in a soup on Wednesday, with the Election Commission holding him in prima facie violation of the Model Code of Conduct for comments made during three of his recent speeches.
The poll panel issued him a notice to explain his stand before 5 pm on April 11, failing which action will be taken against him.
The Election Commission notice came following a complaint by BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP R Ramakrishna, who in a letter dated April 2, had pointed out that Azam Khan had used derogatory language (kutte ke bachche ke bade bhai Narendra Modi ji) against the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate in a public meeting in Rampur on April 1. Ramakrishna, in his complaint, had sought that Khan should be restrained from entering Uttar Pradesh during the election period.
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The EC notice also pertains to a complaint it received along with a video clip in which Khan, while addressing a public meeting in Rampur on April 5, allegedly “used threatening language to the field election machinery”.
Further, two more complaints — from a public meeting in Rampur on April 5 and from Ghaziabad on April 7— wherein Khan is accused of calling BJP’s Amit Shah a “goonda number ek (number one goon)”, a “302 ka mujrim… apradhi (murder convict)” and stating that “those who fought for victory in Kargil were not Hindu, but Muslim soldiers” have also been taken cognizance of by the Election Commission in the notice served on Khan.
“The Commission is, prima facie, of the opinion that by making the aforesaid statements you have violated the provisions of Model Code of Conduct,” the EC, in its notice, said.
In case he fails to satisfactorily explain his stance by the stipulated deadline, Khan could face action under relevant provisions of the model code of conduct dealing with activities that may “aggravate the existing difference or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different caste and communities”.
He could also be in trouble under provisions that say that “there shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes” and that “parties and candidates shall refrain from criticism of all aspects of private life, not connected with the personal activities of the leaders or workers of the parties”.