New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) on Friday decided to allow Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu an opportunity to submit his explanation within 24 hours on statements he made against PM Modi in a speech in Bhopal. Prima facie, Sidhu’s speech reportedly violated the model code of conduct. (Catch Complete Coverage of Lok Sabha Elections 2019)

The EC will take its decision without further reference to him in case Sidhu fails to submit his explanation within a day.

In his April 29 speech in Bhopal, the cricketer-turned-politician had accused PM Modi of being a “traitor” and had alleged corruption in the Rafale deal. The BJP then complained to the EC which, after examining the transcript, directed Sidhu to respond within 24 hours.

Before this, a Gujarat BJP worker had complained against Sidhu for calling PM Modi a ”thief” in his poll rally on April 17. Taking to Twitter, Sidhu had also said that people should put a thought in their vote or their kids could end up becoming a tea-seller, pakoda-seller or a watchman.

“Ek galat vote aapke baccho ko chaiwala, pakodawala ya chowkidar bana sakta hai. Better prevent and prepare, rather than repent and repair… (One wrong vote can make your child a tea-seller, pakoda-seller or a watchman),” he had tweeted.

Earlier in April, the EC had barred 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.

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).”