RESPONDING TO the showcause notice on his speech at a rally in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has told the Election Commission (EC) that his “Ali and Bajrang Bali” remark was said in retaliation to BSP chief Mayawati’s appeal to Muslim voters in Deoband.
Mayawati had made an appeal to Muslim voters in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur and Bareilly districts during the first joint rally of the BSP-SP alliance in Deoband on April 7. She had cautioned voters, “particularly Muslims”, against splitting their votes in the eight western UP seats that went to polls in the first phase on April 11.
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Subsequently, at a rally in Meerut on April 9, targeting the Mahagathbandhan and the Congress, Adityanath had said, “If you (Opposition) have faith in Ali, we have faith in Bajrangbali.”
According to sources, the chief minister, in his response to the poll panel, has denied any wrongdoing and claimed that he has always followed the Model Code of Conduct and will continue to do so.
The BSP chief has also been issued a showcause notice for her appeal. As first reported by The Indian Express, she has defended her appeal to the voters, saying that the message was actually meant for the “bahujan samaj”, of which Muslims are a part.
Stiff action if EC not convinced
THE SECOND showcause notice issued to Adityanath clearly states that his “Ali and Bajrang Bali” remark is a prima facie violation of Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act, which spells out a punishment of imprisonment of up to three years or fine or both for promoting hatred between people on grounds of religion. In other words, if the Commission isn’t convinced by his explanation, it can order an FIR against the CM.
The Commission is likely to take a call on both Mayawati and Adityanath’s response this week. However, sources said, the latter, if found guilty by the EC, could be in more trouble since this is his second showcause notice. He has already been advised by the poll panel to be more careful in his utterance after he triggered a controversy by calling the Indian Army “Modiji ki Sena”.