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Hate speech: EC acts big; bars Mayawati, Yogi from poll campaigning

Hate speech: EC acts big; bars Mayawati, Yogi from poll campaigning”

The ECI's action came hours after the Supreme Court pulled up the poll panel for failing to take action against hate speeches by politicians.

The EC had earlier barred Mayawati and Adityanath from campaigning in the Lok Sabha elections for 48 hours and 72 hours, respectively.

While Adityanath has been barred for using making remarks like "Ali", "Bajrang Bali", and "Hara virus" the BSP supremo has been censured appealing Muslims not to support the Congress but back the grand alliance. "The hurried nature of the action shows that it was taken under pressure".

The EC acted against Mr Adityanath for his "Ali" and "Bajrang Bali" remarks while addressing a rally in Meerut on April 9.

Just after the apex court chose to examine the EC's powers, both Mr Adityanath and Ms Mayawati were restrained from participating in election meetings for three and two days respectively.

The court has asked the poll watchdog about the action it has initiated against them.

According to India Today, the Supreme Court bench, headed by the Indian chief justice Ranjan Gogoi, has summoned a representative of the election commission on April 16 to discuss the matter.

The authority had issued show cause notices to Adityanath and Mayawati for their controversial comments on Thursday.

The commission, which has been criticised by political parties across the spectrum for either turning a blind eye to poll code violations or being too slow, issued the gag orders soon after. Ali is a revered figure in Islam and Hanuman is often called Bajrangbali.

In its order on Adityanath, the poll panel observed that being the chief minister of a state, he has an "added responsibility to not only uphold the basic tenets, including secularism, of the Constitution of India, but also to display the same in his public appearances".

The EC counsel said, "EC does not have any power to deal with such instances of making speeches provoking enmity and hatred between classes of citizens or for voting for any person on the ground of religion, caste etc". The SC, in its order, referred to the stringent provisions of the Representation of the People Act under Sections 123 (3) and 125, which if used, could see a candidate getting disqualified if he or his election agent appealed to voters in the name of religion or made any hate speech.

The ban on Shah was lifted in a few days after he assured the poll body that he would not disturb public tranquility and law and order.



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