Campaign ban on Union min Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Verma

Campaign ban on Union min Anurag Thakur, BJP MP Parvesh Verma

Union minister and BJP MP Anurag Thakur. (PTI Photo)

A day after removing them from the list of BJP's star campaigners for Delhi Assembly polls, the Election Commission on Thursday banned Union Minister Anurag Thakur for 72-hour (3 days) and West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma for 96-hour (4 days) from campaigning for their controversial remarks.

The campaign ban came after the EC perused the responses of both the leaders and found it violated the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct and Representation of the People's Act. Both the BJP leaders had sought a personal hearing to submit their cases but the EC refused to do so.

Thakur and Verma became the second and third leader from the BJP to face a campaign ban after the EC had imposed a 48-hour ban on saffron party's Model Town candidate Kapil Mishra for his comments comparing the Delhi polls to an "India vs Pakistan contest" as well as his remarks on anti-CAA protesters in Shaheen Bagh.

Thakur was pulled by the EC for his "shoot the traitors" sloganeering in a campaign meeting on Monday while Verma landed in trouble for his remarks on Tuesday claiming that lakhs of people are coming to the anti-CAA protest site of Shaheen Bagh and they could enter one's house to rape and murder their sisters and daughters. Verma's comments on Monday about razing mosques built on government land also was considered by the EC to impose the ban.

In his response, the EC said, Thakur claimed that he has chanted only "Desh ke Gaddaron ko, which literally means the traitors of the country and it was the crowd that responded to his slogans". 

However, the EC did not find merit in his argument and said that it was of the "considered view that" Thakur has made "undesirable and objectionable statements which has the tone and tenor to aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred between different religious communities". The same reasoning was given for imposing the ban on Verma too.

In his submission, Verma told the EC that the statements regarding Shaheen Bagh was in response to a question in an interview and was "intended to highlight certain incidents that disturbed peace in several states and his statements were misrepresented in media". 

On his statement on razing mosques, Verma claimed that his statement was in the context of removing illegal encroachment on government land. 

Both the leaders have now been barred from holding "public meetings, processions, rallies, road shows and interviews, public utterances in media (electronic, print, social media) etc. in connection with the Delhi polls.

On Wednesday, the EC had removed them from the list of star campaigners. The expenses incurred on the campaign by star campaigners are not accounted for individual candidates' poll expenses but billed to the party. For Delhi, a candidate can spend a maximum of Rs 28 lakh.

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