New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) on Thursday issued a show-cause notice to BJP Mumbai Chief Mangal Pratap Lodha, over his communally-charged statement on 1992 Mumbai riots.
Along with him, Shiv Sena candidate Pandurang Sakpal and the organiser of the campaign meeting held at Mumbadevi in Mumbai, were also issued notices.
The notice was issued suomotu by Mumbadevi Returning Officer Vishwas Gujar who sought responses to Lodha’s speech. Gujar further said that a response was sought as soon as possible and a decision on future course of action will be taken within 48 hours.
At a campaign rally held in support of Mumbadevi candidate Sakpal, Lodha on Wednesday had delivered a speech referring to previous instances of riots and terror attacks, claiming that the bombs and bullets used were manufactured “in lanes within 5 km” of the meeting venue.
He is heard as saying, “In the 1992 riots, remember the blasts that took place and many bullets were fired, they were fired in lanes that are just five km (away) here.
Though he didn’t mention the names, he is believed to have referring to Dongri and Nagpada areas, which have a sizeable Muslim population.
In his speech, he also targeted Congress candidate Amin Patel, saying the current MLA looked at the “interests of one particular community”.
Calling the remarks a “serious violation” of the code of conduct rules, The Aam Aadmi Party said that it will file a formal complaint with the EC. Meanwhile, locals have also demanded an apology from him.
Amin Patel, who is contesting against the Sena-BJP candidate Pandurang Sakpal told TOI, “It only shows the frustration of BJP and its city chief, who has targeted an area which has been peaceful. I will sue him for defamation, but before that, voters in the locality will avenge the crassly communal and humiliating statement”.
Elections in Maharashtra will be held on October 21. Counting of votes will be held on October 24.