Mayawati banned from campaigning, nephew Akash Anand takes to podium for BSPhttps://indianexpress.com/elections/mayawati-barred-from-campaigning-ec-nephew-akash-anand-lok-sabha-elections-5678812/

Mayawati banned from campaigning, nephew Akash Anand takes to podium for BSP

Occupying one of the four seats on the dais with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, RLD president Ajit Singh and BSP general secretary S C Misra at the Koti Mina Bazar ground here, Akash Anand was the first one to address the joint rally.

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Aligarh: (L-R) Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Chaudhary Ajit Singh, Mayawati’s nephew Akash Anand and BSP leader Satish Chandra Misra during an election campaign for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, in Aligarh, Monday. (Photo: PTI)

A day after the Election Commission of India (ECI) banned BSP supremo Mayawati from campaigning for 48 hours, her nephew Akash Anand took to podium on Tuesday addressing his first rally. Addressing the rally in Agra, the 24-year-old urged the people to vote for SP-BSP-RLD alliance in the Lok Sabha polls. He was joined by SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and RLD president Ajit Singh.

“People in such large numbers have come here on the appeal of my aunt for which I am thankful… My seniors are sitting on the dais but I am appearing before you for the first time and want to make an appeal… will you all listen to me,” PTI quoted him saying in the rally.

Also read | Seems like poll body has found its powers, says SC as it turns down Mayawati’s plea against EC ban

Akash Anand, the son of Mayawati’s brother Anand, began appearing in public with the BSP chief recently. On January 15, he was seen standing behind Mayawati when she met Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow on her birthday and was also present on the dais at the joint SP-BSP-RLD rally in Deoband on April 7. He has also been included in the list of BSP’s star campaigners.

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The poll watchdog banned Mayawati from campaigning for 48 hours after it found her speech in a rally in Deoband to be highly provocative “with the tone and tenor of to aggravate existing difference or create mutual hatred between religious communities,” therefore violating the MCC. The Commission had also issued a showcause notice to Mayawati last week, asking her to explain in 24 hours why she hadn’t violated the MCC and the Representation of the People Act. Defending her appeal, Mayawati had told the EC that her message was actually meant for the “bahujan samaj”, of which Muslims are also a part.

Meanwhile, the Bahujan leader approached the Supreme Court over the order only to be shot down by the apex court. “Seems like the Election Commission has woken up and found its powers,” the top court said today.