Updated: April 20, 2021 12:40:12 pm
The Election Commission (EC) on Sunday imposed a 24-hour campaign ban on BJP leader Sayantan Basu and Trinamool Congress (TMC) Arambagh candidate Sujata Mondal for making derogatory comments that violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
In its letters to the two, the Commission said, “Commission hereby sternly warns and advises to desist from using such statement while making public utterances during the period when Model Code of Conduct is in force and imposes a ban of 24 hours from 7 pm on April 18th to 7 pm on April 19th.”
In her response to an EC notice seeking explanation for her comments about the Scheduled Caste (SC) community, Sujata Mondal had said, “The statements were made by her in the context of the attempt on her life by goons/stooges of the BJP and her anguish at BJP exploiting the vulnerabilities of the SC community in her Assembly Constituency, which compelled them to launch such vicious attack on her life and person. The comments were solely restricted to express her grief and anguish at life-threatening attack on her at the behest of paid BJP goons.”
The TMC leader, who is married to BJP MP Saumitra Khan, had come in for intense criticism for saying “SC voters are beggars”.
The notice to Sayanatan Basu was sent on Thursday for making an “inflammatory statement” about the Sitalkuchi firing in which four voters were killed. The state BJP general secretary had said at a public rally in Baranagar in North 24 Parganas district, “If you kill one we will kill four of you…”
In his reply, Basu claimed his comments were misinterpreted. “The statement was made not with the intent to threaten Bengal and its people as alleged but was made to show that violation of law will be dealt sternly by the law enforcement agencies,” he added.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee criticised the poll body for curtailing the campaigning period. She made the comments at rallies in Nadia district.
“Earlier, they took away an entire day of my campaign. Now, in the last three phases, it has curtailed campaign time by four days. As a result, I will not be able to address 20 meetings in south Bengal districts,” Banerjee said.
Amid a steep rise in Covid-19 cases, the EC on Friday reduced campaign hours and extended the silence period before polling dates to 72 hours.
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