New Delhi: The Election Commission on Monday barred Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Azam Khan from election campaigning for 72 hours starting from 10 AM Tuesday, for violating Model Code of Conduct during his election campaign held in Rampur. Further, BJP leader Maneka Gandhi has also been banned from conducting any election campaigning for 48 hours starting 10 AM tomorrow.

While Khan was under the poll panel’s lens for making derogatory remarks against Jaya Prada, Gandhi came under the scanner for telling Muslims to vote for her as they will need her once the Lok Sabha elections are over.

Khan, at an election rally in Rampur on  Sunday, without taking any names, said, “People of Rampur, people of Uttar Pradesh and people of India, it took you 17 years to understand her reality. But, I could recognize it in 17 days that she wears khaki underwear. (Rampur waalo, Uttar Pradesh waalo, Hindustan waalo, usski asliyat samajhne mein aapko 17 baras lag gaye. Main 17 dinon mein pehchaan gaya ki inke neeche kaa jo underwear hai, woh khaki rang kaa hai),”

Earlier in the day, Uttar Pradesh Chief Election Officer sent a report to the Election Commission of India regarding Azam Khan’s derogatory remark against Jaya Prada.

The report, which includes the transcript of Khan’s comments against the BJP candidate, was sent to the Uttar Pradesh electoral officer, who has in turn sent it to the EC for a decision. The official cited a clause in the Model Code of Conduct that asks parties and candidates to “confine” their political attack during campaigning to policies and programmes of rivals.

“Parties and candidates shall refrain from criticism of all aspects of private life, not connected with the public activities of the leaders or workers of other parties,” reads a part of the clause. The official said, “If the EC concludes that he has actually made those remarks, it would take a call based on the provision. It can also go beyond the ambit of the model code as the reported remarks are not in a good taste.”

Notably, an FIR was registered on Monday against Khan for his “underwear” jibe against Jaya Prada who is fighting the Lok Sabha polls from Rampur against him.

Further, Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav today defended Azam Khan and said that his remark was not meant for the BJP leader. “Azam Khan had said some people have been wearing RSS clothes, he said this about someone else. We are Samajwadi (socialist) people, we don’t use offensive language against women and daughters,” ANI quoted Yadav as saying.

The National Commission for Women (NCW) has also issued a show-cause notice to Khan. The notice calls Khan out for his sexist comments against a “lady politician”. It seeks a response from Khan for his comments and also expresses displeasure over how a person in a responsible position could make such irresponsible comment. It says the comment was “offensive, unethical and shows disrespect towards the dignity and respect of women.”

BJP President Amit Shah also hit out at Azam Khan at the Samajwadi Party leader for his objectionable remarks against BJP’s Rampur Lok Sabha candidate Jaya Prada.