The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday barred Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Azam Khan from campaigning for 48 hours starting 6 AM on Wednesday for making “highly provocative” speeches that violated the model code of conduct (MCC).

In its order issued on Tuesday, the poll panel said the SP leader had not only made speeches against the district election machinery but also made public utterances on religious lines “that have the propensity to polarise elections which are not confined to the constituency only where the statement is made but to other parts as well due to fast dissemination of information in this digital age”.

At a rally in Rampur, Khan had allegedly said that Indian Muslim soldiers shouted slogans to fool the Pakistanis who mistook them for their own soldiers and came out of their cover after which the Indian soldiers defeated them.

Condemning his remarks made on religious lines, the poll panel warned him not to repeat “such misconduct” in future and barred him from holding public meetings, processions, rallies, road shows and giving interviews, and making public utterances in the media in connection with the ongoing elections for two days.

The EC had earlier barred him from campaigning for three days for making objectionable comments against actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada, who is contesting against him in Rampur on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket.