The BJP Tuesday urged the Election Commission to review its order banning Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from campaigning for 72 hours, claiming he did not intend to incite communal tension and had only expressed his beliefs.
A BJP delegation including Union ministers J P Nadda, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and V K Singh also asked the EC to take action against cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu alleging that he tried to “spread hatred” with his speech in Bihar’s Katihar constituency on Monday.
Defending Adityanath, Nadda said, “We have urged the EC to review its decision banning Yogi Adityanath for 72 hours from participating in poll campaign. Yogi ji only expressed his beliefs and did not intend to seek votes or influence any community.”
“We have requested the EC to review the decision to ban him and keep in view our right to retort and response,” the Union health minister told reporters.
The poll watchdog served a notice to Adityanath on Monday after he, while addressing a rally in Meerut, compared the Lok Sabha elections to a contest between ‘Ali’, a revered figure in Islam, and Bajrang Bali, the Hindu god Hanuman.
On the complaint against Sidhu, Nadda said, “The BJP delegation also met the EC for action against Sidhu. His comments in Purnia, Bihar, communalise and spread hatred among communities on religious lines, thereby committing blatant violations under Indian Penal Code, Representation of the People Act and Model Code of Conduct.”
Sidhu stoked controversy on Monday by urging Muslim voters of Bihar’s Katihar Lok Sabha constituency, with sizeable population of the minority community, to vote en bloc and defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sidhu was canvassing in support of Congress leader and former union minister Tariq Anwar.