Two days after issuing a notice to BJP MP Yogi Adityanath for allegedly violating the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct by invoking religion to garner votes during a poll meeting in Noida, the Election Commission on Thursday reprimanded the Gorakhpur MP and cautioned him to be careful.
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“In the commission’s considered view, you have violated the provisions of MCC as mentioned in the commission’s notice dated September 9, 2014. The commission reprimands you for the said misconduct and cautions you to be careful in future in making public utterances during election speeches to avoid any further violation of the Model Code of Conduct,” the EC said in its order. The words “reprimand’ and “cautions” were marked in bold and underlined.
The EC also directed the Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer to ensure that an FIR is filed against Adityanath. “Kindly intimate if any FIR has been filed in the matter. If not, then the concerned district authorities should be directed to file case under Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and Section 153 A, Section 295 A and Section 505 of the Indian Penal Code,” it said. It has sought a compliance report by 5 pm on Friday.
On September 9, the EC issued a showcause notice to Adityanath following a report by the District Gautam Buddh Nagar wherein the BJP MP was accused of delivering an inflammatory speech and invoking religion in a bid to seek votes in Noida on September 7, in the run-up to the September 13 bypolls. The DEO had attached a CD and some press clippings with the report.
“Ram Bharat ki astha hai… Bharatiya rashtriyata ka prateek hain… Aap sabse kehna chahoonga ki Ram ki parampara mein jo log vishwas karte hain, Ram Rajya ki sthapana chahte hain UP mein bhi… Aap se anurodh hai ki 13 tareekh ko padne wala ek-ek vote Bhajapa ke paksh mein jaana chahiye (Ram is a symbol of Indian nationality… Those who believe in Ram, want Ram Rajya, I urge them to vote for the BJP),” Adityanath was reported to have said.
Adityanath also allegedly said that while a loudspeaker was removed from a temple in Moradabad, they are allowed in mosques, and when some young workers objected to this, they were put in jail. He also allegedly said that those who trouble Hindus with riots will have to pay dearly.
Not accepting Adityanath’s contention that this “speech was, in totality, aimed at the objective of complete religious harmony”, the EC on Thursday stated that the “CD covering your speech manifestedly shows that you invoked religion and made appeal on this ground of religion to secure votes for your party and that the said speech had the effect of provoking feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of the citizens of India on grounds of religion, race, caste, community, or language and aggravating the existing differences or creating mutual hatred or causing tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic.”
Reacting to the EC’s order, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “The situation in Uttar Pradesh is such that the elected leaders of BJP will have to allay the fears of the people there. The Samajwadi Party is responsible for the communal polarisation there and the BJP will have to address the voters and say that they do not need to be disturbed.”
The EC also pulled up Adityanath for marking his reply to its notice as, “What So Ever It May Concern”. “It would have been more appropriate if the reply was sent under your signature or the authority letter was addressed to ECI, a constitutional authority rather than marking it to, ‘What So Ever It May Concern’.
The EC told Adityanath that the averments made in his reply were “totally devoid of the reply on merit in relation to the objectionable statements made by you and dwells more on technical objections on admissibility of report of DEO, CD, etc.” The commission said it was “factually wrong” to say that a copy of the report of the DEO was not furnished along with the commission’s notice, “though the same was duly furnished to you along with the CD and press clippings as annexure to the commission’s order under reference”.