EC bans Azam Khan, Amit Shah rallies

EC bans Azam Khan, Amit Shah rallies

Controversial leaders Amit Shah of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Azam Khan of the Samajwadi Party (SP) were on Friday banned by the Election Commission (EC) from campaigning in Uttar Pradesh.

The poll panel expressed “serious concern” over their “highly inflammatory speeches”, made with “malicious intent”.

The EC also rebuked the SP-led Uttar Pradesh government for soft-pedalling their cases, especially that of Khan, and asked it to initiate criminal proceedings against the leaders.
It also said FIRs should be immediately filed against them, besides taking preventive steps to ensure they do not disturb law and order.

More trouble is brewing for Khan as the EC will issue a second show-cause notice for his alleged derogatory comments against BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi during a campaign meeting in Rampur on Thursday.

The poll panel imposed the ban as both leaders did not reply to its show-cause notices even after the deadline lapsed. While Shah was told to send his reply by April 9, Khan’s deadline ended on Friday evening.

In its direction, the commission said, “No permission should be granted for holding any public meetings, processions, rallies, road shows, etc, by the district administration, where the two leaders are expected or likely to participate.”

Shah was in the eye of a storm following his public speech in riot-hit Muzaffarnagar urging Jat voters to take “revenge for the insult” during the election. Khan courted controversy with his comments in Ghaziabad that Muslim soldiers won the Kargil war for India.

The commission said their speeches were not only violative of the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct, but also constituted serious offences under various provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and the Indian Penal Code, apart from the relevant provisions of the state laws.

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