New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) has barred Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu from holding any public meeting, road shows, public rally and interviews in media, in connection with the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, for 72 hours from 10 AM on Tuesday.

Condemning the statements made by Sidhu during the election campaign at Barsoi and Barari of Katihar district in Bihar, the EC had issued him the notice for violation of Model Code of Conduct.

In Katihar, Sidhu had said, “Main aapko chetavni dene aaya hoon Muslim bhaiyon, ye baant rahe hain aapko, ye yahan Owaisi jaise logon ko lake, ek nai party khadi kar aap logon ka vote baant ke jitna chahte hain. Agar tum log ikatthe hue, ekjut hoke vote dala toh Modi sulat jayega (Muslim brothers, I have come here to warn you. They are trying to divide you. They are trying to divide your votes by bringing in people like Owaisi here and help a new party form its base here. If you all stand united and vote, then Modi will be finished).”

A few days ago, Bihar Chief Electoral Officer H R Srinivasa had said, “An FIR has been lodged against Sidhu under a section of Indian Penal Code and section 123 (3) of the Representation of the People Act.”

Section 123 (3) bars promotion of, or attempt to promote, feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of the citizens of India on grounds of religion, race, caste, community, or language, by a candidate or his agent or any other person.

At a rally in Gujarat last week, Sidhu had said it was only his (PM’s) brand of patriotism that meant doing yoga on an empty stomach. Ridiculing the Modi government for its various schemes, Sidhu said, “Ye rashtrabhakti hai tumhari ki pet khali hai aur yoga karaya ja raha hai, Baba Ramdev hi bana do sabko. Pet khali hai yoga karaya ja raha hai aur jeb khali hai khaata khulvaya ja raha hai (You are making people do yoga on empty stomach…turning everyone into Baba Ramdev. Stomachs are empty and you’re propagating yoga, pockets are empty and you’re opening their bank accounts).”