New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (ECI) issued a show cause notice to Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu for his remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Citing a complaint by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker in Gujarat, the poll body’s notice reproduced excerpts of the speech in which the Congress star campaigner had described the prime minister as a ‘thief’ while addressing an election meeting on April 17 in Ahmedabad.

Reminding Sidhu of a provision in the model code that bars candidates and leaders from making personal remarks against rivals during electioneering, the Commission issued the notice on Tuesday. It asked the Congress leader to respond till May 2 evening, failing which a decision without further reference to him will be taken by the EC.

Earlier last month, the Election Commission had banned Sidhu from campaigning for 72 hours for controversial remarks made by him which was seen in violation of the poll code.

While addressing a poll rally in Bihar’s Katihar, the Punjab leader had stoked a controversy when he urged Muslim voters to vote en bloc and defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Lok Sabha Elections 2019 are ongoing in seven phases. The polling for four phases has been completed and remaining will be held on May 6, 12 and 19. The counting of votes is scheduled for May 23 across the country.