Hours after the Election Commission barred Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and BSP chief Mayawati from campaigning for their controversial speeches, the Congress asked the poll panel to hand out similar punishments to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.
The Congress welcomed the EC’s action, recalling that it was senior party leader Abhishek Singhvi who had last week suggested to the poll panel that individuals who are violating the code of conduct despite censure or rebuke by the panel should be barred from campaigning for a day. Singhvi said that if the EC “sticks to this principle stand, is bold enough, is absolutely fearless and unequivocal in sending this message in every case, sensationalism will stop in less than a week”.
Recalling that the Congress had last week brought to the EC’s attention instances of “hate speeches” by Modi, Shah and Adityanath, Singhvi said “we hope and trust that the Election Commission will be even handed, will be non-discriminatory” in its approach.
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“It is time that the Election Commission forthwith banned habitual offenders, the president of the BJP and the Prime Minister of this country for one, two, three, four or five days from campaigning —- whichever the Election Commission thinks appropriate. It is not about the Prime Minister, it is not about the BJP president, it is about the non-discriminatory, even handed application of the law… It is excellent start…and we hope and trust that it is even handed application will continue unabated howsoever high be the position the person concerned occupies,” he said.