National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah on Tuesday welcomed the Election Commission’s order barring four prominent politicians from electioneering for two to three days for their “provocative” or “snide” remarks.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, however, wanted the poll panel to take harsher measures against the leaders making hate speeches or sexiest remarks during campaigning.
“I think the recent steps taken by the Election Commission, while (being) welcome, need to be stronger,” he said.
“Stopping somebody from campaigning for a day or two or three days is not exactly something that will deter these people because a lot of them are past masters in this sort of the use of language,” he told reporters on the sidelines of campaigning for his father and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah in Budgam district.
The NC leader said there should be no place for hate speeches or sexiest remarks in electoral discourse and even otherwise.
“One hopes the Election Commission will take very firm actions against any sexiest remark or hate speech injected into campaigns,” Omar Abdullah added.
In reply to a question, he also appealed to the governor’s administration to cancel the ban on civilian traffic on state highways for two days a week, saying it did not benefit the security forces despite inconveniencing common people.
“The surprising thing is that no force, be it police, paramilitary or army, made this demand. The Army has said they don’t need this ban and they will not even follow it. They are going to ply their vehicles all seven days a week.
“For God’s sake, tell me what is the purpose of closing the highways for two days. Security forces have not benefitted from it but common people have had to suffer,” he said.
The former chief minister said some people have unnecessarily made the highway ban a prestige issue.
“I will again appeal to the governor administration, please don’t make it an ego issue. Please cancel this order and allow people to use the highways,” he added.