Millennium Post

EC sends notice to Suvendu over his 'hate speech' in Nandigram

Kolkata: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday sent a notice to BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari in connection with the deliverance of an alleged "hate speech", during an election campaign for the ongoing West Bengal Assembly polls on March 29 in a constituency of Nandigram. Adhikari is the BJP nominee from the Nandigram seat where Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee is contesting against him.

The Commission has sought a reply from Adhikari within 24 hours in which he has to explain his stand, otherwise, the poll panel will take a decision without further reference to the latter.

The complaint against Adhikari was lodged by Kavita Krishnan, a member of the Communist Party of India CPI(ML), who claimed that the "hate speech" was delivered at a public meeting and has been widely reported in the media.

The Election Commission, in its notice issued on Thursday, has mentioned that Adhikari in his speech had referred to one "Begum", telling the audience that voting for his political opponent implies voting for a "mini Pakistan". Adhikari had also brought the reference of a 'lotus' saying that Rama had worshipped Devi Durga with a lotus and therefore, urged people to "vote for lotus".

The EC has provided an authenticated transcript of the relevant speech as delivered by Adhikari on March 29, as received from the state Chief Electoral Officer. The poll panel has noted that the speech of the BJP leader has violated Clauses (2) and (3) of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), issued by the EC in connection with the ongoing state Assembly polls.

Clause (2) of the MCC states that candidates shall refrain from criticising the private lives of other political parties and should not make criticisms based on "unverified allegations or distortion". Clause (3) states that there should be no appeal to "caste or communal feelings for securing votes". Mosques, churches, temples, or other places of worship shall not be used as a forum of election propaganda. Election in Nandigram has already been held on April 1 during the second phase.

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