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'Undignified, uncivilised & vulgar': EC bars Randeep Surjewala from campaigning for 48 hours over 'sexist' remark about Hema Malini

The EC acted against Surjewala, a member of the Congress Working Committee, after rejecting his claim that the video cited by the BJP in its complaint against him was doctored.
nirban Bhaumik
Last Updated : 16 April 2024, 13:11 IST
Last Updated : 16 April 2024, 13:11 IST

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New Delhi: The Election Commission on Tuesday barred senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala from campaigning for 48 hours after condemning his alleged “undignified, uncivilised, and vulgar” remarks against film actress and BJP parliamentarian Hema Malini.

The EC acted against Surjewala, a member of the Congress Working Committee, after rejecting his claim that the video cited by the BJP in its complaint against him was doctored.

Surjewala becomes the first politician to be barred from campaigning after the Model Code of Conduct came into force with the declaration of the poll schedule by the EC on March 16.

The EC had issued a show-cause notice to Surjewala for his alleged remarks against actress-politician Hema Malini, whom the BJP fielded again from the Mathura constituency in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress general secretary claimed in his response to the notice that the video cited by the BJP was ‘doctored’.

The EC, however, noted that it had received the report of the District Election Officer of Kaithal in Haryana confirming that Surjewala had made the remarks on March 31 at Faral village under the Pundri assembly segment and the entire speech had been recorded by the video surveillance team of the local poll authorities.

“The commission without prejudice to any order/notice issued or to be issued subsequently to him in the matter relating to MCC violations, hereby, strongly condemns the impugned statement made by him during the election campaign held in Haryana and reprimands Randeep Surjewala for the misconduct,” the EC stated in its order.

The commission invoked its constitutional powers under Article 324 of the Constitution to bar Surjewala from holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows and interviews, and public utterances in electronic, print, and social media in connection with the ongoing elections for 48 hours starting from 6 pm on Tuesday.

The EC had earlier stated that it had found the comments to be “highly undignified, vulgar, and uncivilised” and to be prima facie violative of the provisions of the MCC and the poll panel's advisory issued to parties last month.

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Published 16 April 2024, 13:11 IST

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