EC sends notice to Suvendu Adhikari over alleged hate speech
The Election Commission sent a notice to Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Suvendu Adhikari on Thursday for alleged communal undertones in a speech that he delivered in West Bengal's Nandigram last month. The star BJP candidate has been given 24 hours to respond. The action was taken following a complaint by Kavita Krishnan of the CPI-ML Central Committee. Here's what went down.
In her complaint, Krishnan had raised objection to Adhikari's speech, wherein he used the word "Begum" while speaking about West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. He had told people of Nandigram, a region that holds special importance for Trinamool Congress, that a vote for "Begum" would lead to the creation of mini-Pakistan. "A Dawood Ibrahim has come up in your locality, (sic)" he had said.
In its notice, the body referred to two provisions of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC). While one states that criticism of political parties should remain restricted to their policies, past records, and work, the other underscores that candidates can't appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes. EC said Adhikari's words violated clauses (2) and (3) of Part I of General Conduct of Model Conduct.
As it asked Adhikari to explain his stance on the matter in 24 hours, the EC warned, "Failing which the Commission shall take a decision without further reference to you. (sic)" Adhikari, who was once a trusted lieutenant of Banerjee, is now fighting the prestige battle against her. Nandigram had voted on April 1, during the second phase of Assembly polls.
Separately, the EC also sent a notice to Banerjee today, directing the TMC matriarch to explain her remarks about the central security forces by tomorrow. On March 28, she had asked, "Who gave so much power to them that the central police are threatening the women without allowing them to cast their votes?" The EC said her words violated several sections of MCC.