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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: EC debars BJP candidate Abhijit Gangopadhyay from campaigning for 24 hours for comments against Mamata Banerjee

The order was copied to Nadda referring to the April 1 order to party chiefs to ensure that functionaries do not commit any violation which are repugnant to the honour and dignity of women. Despite this, the EC said Gangopadhyay has 'committed the same type of violation to a worse degree'.
hemin Joy
Last Updated : 21 May 2024, 08:56 IST
Last Updated : 21 May 2024, 08:56 IST

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New Delhi: The Election Commission on Tuesday barred BJP candidate Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay from campaigning for 24 hours after his "low-level personal attack" on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

It also told party chief J P Nadda about his "grave failure" to enforce a direction to ensure that no remarks are made against women questioning their honour and dignity.

The action came after a complaint filed by the Trinamool Congress against the former Kolkata High Court judge and BJP's Tamluk candidate's comments on May 15. The EC had sought Gangopadhyay's response by Monday evening and after perusing it, the poll body has issued the fresh order.

"The Commission painfully notes the fact that abominable words have come from someone of Abhijit Gangopadhyay's educational and professional background and hence does not remotely deserve any benefit of doubt," it said adding, "He has brought damage and disrepute to the state of West Bengal that has a distinguished tradition of respect for women."

Gangopadhyay had a running battle with the Trinamool Congress when he was a judge in Kolkata High Court. He resigned as a judge recently to join the BJP and fight in the Lok Sabha polls.

The order was copied to Nadda referring to the April 1 order to party chiefs to ensure that functionaries do not commit any violation which are repugnant to the honour and dignity of women. Despite this, the EC said Gangopadhyay has "committed the same type of violation to a worse degree".

"This is deemed as a grave failure to enforce one of the most basic conducts in election campaign, even after clear directions from the Commission," it said while asking Nadda to issue necessary an advisory to all BJP candidates and campaigners to make sure that this lapse does not recur.

In his complaint on May 16, senior Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien had demanded initiation of criminal proceedings against Gangopadhyay and a complete ban on him from holding campaign.

"...the Commission strongly censures Abhijit Gangopadhyay for...misconduct and debars him from campaigning for 24 hours starting from 5 PM on May 21. The Commission also strictly warns Abhjit Gangopadhyay to remain careful in his public utterances during the currency of Model Code of Conduct," the EC order on Gangopadhyay said. Tamluk constituency goes to polls on May 25 and the campaign ends on Thursday.

At a public meeting in West Bengal's Haldia on May 15, Gangopadhyay had targeted Mamata, saying he keeps wondering whether she is a woman among other things.

After going through Gangopadhyay's response, which it received on Monday, the EC said it has "carefully" examined his response and again gone through his remarks at the rally and is "convinced that he has made a low-level personal attack and thus violated the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct".

Emphasising that the poll body considers the election process as a major enhancer of status of women in India, the EC said that it finds Gangopadhyay's statement a "direct affront" on women. It said such statements are "outrightly condemnable when used in respect of any woman, not to speak of a senior political leader and holder of a Constitutional position, who he has targeted".

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Published 21 May 2024, 08:56 IST

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