After a Supreme Court prod, the Election Commission on Friday barred BJP’s Nadia district president Mahadev Sarkar from campaigning for 48 hours for making sexually coloured remarks against a TMC candidate. The ban came into force at 4.00 pm on Friday and would remain in force till April 28 evening, an order issued by the commission said.
The EC’s decision came a day after the Supreme Court ordered the poll panel to initiate action based on a complaint filed by TMC candidate Mahua Moitra.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna had on Thursday directed the Election Commission to pass the order “forthwith”.
The EC “strongly condemned” and “severely reprimanded” Sarkar for his remarks and said he had violated para 2 of the model code which states that: “Criticism of other political parties, when made, shall be confined to their policies and programme, past record and work. 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 …”
Moitra had alleged that Nadia district BJP president Sarkar, in the presence of party candidate Kalyan Chaubey, made sexually coloured remarks against her on April 22.
She said that the poll panel had not taken any action against Sarkar.
In his reply to the commission, Sarkar had not denied making the remarks but had maintained that the issue was not covered under the model code.
The Krishnanagar constituency in Nadia district in West Bengal goes to polls on April 29.
“The commission, under Article 324 of the Constitution of India and all other powers enabling in this behalf, also bars Mahadev Sarkar, district president, Bharatiya Janata Party, Nadia, from holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows and interviews, public utterances in media (electronic, print, social media) etc in connection with ongoing elections for 48 hours from 4.00 pm on April 26, 2019 till 4.00 pm on 28 April 2019 (Sunday),” the order read.