The Election Commission on Friday banned BJP general secretary Amit Shah and Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan from addressing public meetings and asked the Uttar Pradesh chief secretary to initiate criminal proceedings against the two leaders.
Both Shah and Khan will not be able to participate in public meetings, processions and roadshows. While campaigning, Shah had recently said the Lok Sabha election was a chance for people to take “revenge” for the communal violence that tore apart Muzaffarnagar last year. On the other hand, Khan, at an election rally in Ghaziabad on Tuesday, said the Kargil war was “won by Muslim soldiers”.
The commission said, “All preventive measures shall be taken against them under the relevant provisions.”
The poll body tasked the chief secretary with ensuring that the leaders don’t affect public tranquillity. The commission also asked him to ensure compliance of its orders by 5 pm on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Samajwadi Party has appealed to the commission to reconsider the ban on Azam Khan, calling him a “secular leader” who is well-liked by Hindus. The saffron party also urged the commission to review its decision on Amit Shah.
Earlier, the Election Commission said it has been observing “with serious concern” that Shah and Khan have been making highly inflammatory speeches during the course of the ongoing election campaign. “These statements are promoting feelings of enmity, hatred and creating disharmony,” the three-page EC order said. The commission said despite being issued a notice, Azam Khan had continued indulging in violations of the Model Code of Conduct and statutory laws. “The state SP government is soft-pedalling in taking required action against him,” the commission said. It also said both Khan and Shah are yet to reply to the showcause notices issued to them.
There has been a flood of complaints against the politicians for their campaign speeches and the commission has asked all chief electoral officers to ensure that such violations are reported immediately. It has also said all campaign organisers should be asked to submit two copies of CDs carrying unedited versions of speeches of leaders.