The Election Commission has issued a notice to BJP MP from Unnao, Sakshi Maharaj, for his alleged communal remarks against Muslims during a religious event in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh and sought his reply by January 11. The notice comes three days after Congress moved the EC on a plea that the MP had violated the model code of conduct that came into effect in the state on January 4. Uttar Pradesh votes in seven phases from February 11 to March 8.
In an indirect jibe at the Muslim community, Sakshi Maharaj, at a sant sammelan in Meerut on January 6, reportedly said, “Desh mein samasyaein khadi ho rahi hain jansankhya ke karan. Uske liye Hindu zimmedar nahin hain… Zimmedar toh wo hain jo chaar biwion aur chalees bachchon ki baatein karte hain. (There are problems in the country because of the growth of population. Hindus are not responsible for that. Those responsible are the ones who talk of four wives and 40 children.)” He also said that the money earned from cattle slaughter was being used to fund terrorism.
— Ritika Chopra (@KhurafatiChopra) January 10, 2017
The BJP MP’s remarks come days after the Supreme Court ruled that political parties and candidates can’t seek votes
in the name of religion or caste.
In a petition to Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi, the Congress termed the MP’s remarks “communal” and argued that the comments were in violation of the model code of conduct and punishable under law. “The entire statement made by Sakshi Maharaj made be perused and appropriate action may be taken against him and the Bharatiya Janata Party in this regard, in view of the nature of the offending statement,” the petition by the Congress read.
The Chief Electoral Officer of Uttar Pradesh had also sought a report from the district administration on the alleged communal remarks by the BJP MP. Besides, an FIR against him on charges of promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion and caste was also lodged by the Meerut police.