Bengal Elections 2021: EC imposes 24-hour ban on BJP and TMC candidates for ‘highly provocative remarks’

The Election Commission has imposed a ban on Sayantan Basu and Sujata Mondal from 7 pm on April 18 to 7 pm on April 19 and sternly warned them “to desist from using provocative remarks while making public utterances”.

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Sunday imposed a 24-hour ban on the Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sayantan Basu and Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Sujata Mondal from campaigning in the elections.

The EC imposed a ban on Mondal from 7 pm on April 18 to 7 pm on April 19 for her “remarks against Scheduled Caste community in an interview to a TV channel”, reported ANI.

In a notice issued by the EC on Friday, the poll panel said it had carefully considered Mondal’s reply, which does not justify the relevant portions of her statement “denigrating the Scheduled Caste community in West Bengal”.

The poll panel in its order noted that it has “carefully considered her reply which does not justify the relevant portions of her statement denigrating the Scheduled Caste community in West Bengal and is of the considered view that Sujata Mondal has violated clause (I) of Part I ‘General Conduct of Model Code of Conduct for the Guidance of Political Parties and Candidates’ through her remarks which could cause tension between different castes thereby adversely affecting the election process.”

“Now, therefore, the Commission hereby sternly warns Sujata Mondal and advises her to desist from using such statement while making public utterances during the period when the Model Code of Conduct is in force,” read a part of the order issued by the EC.

The TMC leader in her reply noted, “She proudly belongs to the Scheduled Caste (“SC”) and relates to the pre-existing struggles and sufferings of the SC and holds the community in the highest regard.”

According to the ANI report, BJP’s Sayantan Basu is also banned from 7 pm on April 18 to 7 pm on April 19 over his ‘highly provocative remarks’.

Similar to Mondal, the EC issued a notice to Basu on Thursday, and after his reply, the Commission noted that it has “carefully considered his reply and is of the considered view that he has violated clauses (I) and (4) of Part I ‘General Conduct of Model Code of Conduct for the Guidance of Political Parties and Candidates and made highly provocative remarks which could have a very serious consequence on the general maintenance of Law and Order thereby adversely affecting the election process.”

In his reply to the EC, Basu noted, “The alleged statement is being totally misinterpreted by the complainant” and “He never intended to make any statement contravening MCC, the provisions of The Representation of People Act, 1951 and provisions of Indian Penal Code”, reported the news agency ANI.

The Election Commission has ‘sternly’ warned both leaders and advised them “to desist from using such statement while making public utterances during the period when Model Code of Conduct is in force.”

The first five phases of the eight-phase West Bengal Assembly elections have already been concluded. Meanwhile, according to the ANI report, the sixth phase of the state Assembly polls is scheduled for April 22.

Polling for the seventh and the eighth phase will be held on April 26 and April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.