Just before the phase 2 of the Lok Sabha elections is set to commence, the Election Commission of India (ECI,) on the 15th of April, banned Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, from campaigning.
Effective from 6:00 A.M., on the 16th of April, the ECI imposed a ban of 3 days on Yogi Adityanath and 2 days on Mayawati.
According to the ECI, Mayawati made several highly provocative statements at a joint rally by the BSP and the Samajwadi Party (SP.) Mayawati made an appeal to the Muslim voters in the Saharanpur and Bareilly districts of UP by asking them not to split their votes among the eight seats in western UP. This speech was made during the first joint rally held by BSP and SP was considered a severe violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC.)
While Mayawati was banned for the words used in her speech, the UP Chief Minister was banned for drawing contrasts between “Ali” and “Bajrang Bali” at a speech in Meerut. The ban on Yogi Adityanath was issued after Yogi said, the Lok Sabha elections were similar to fights between Bajrang Bal (Hanuman) and Ali (a revered Islamic figure.)
In his controversial statement, Adityanath said, “Agar Congress, SP, BSP ko ‘Ali’ par vishwaas hai toh humein bhi ‘Bajrang Bali’ par vishwaas hai (If the Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party have faith in Ali, we have faith in Hanuman.)”
Both Adityanath’s and Mayawati’s speeches were made with “the tone and tenor of to aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred between religious communities,” a move which was against the MCC.
On the 9th of April, the ECI sent show cause notices to both Mayawati and Adityanath, saying they were guilty of violating the MCC. In fact, even the Supreme Court asked the ECI why it had not taken these violations seriously and why they hadn’t passed strong judgements when the offenses were committed.
The ECI gave Mayawati 24 hours to prove why she isn’t guilty of violating the MCC.
With the Lok Sabha elections going on in full swing, this move by the ECI could have an adverse effect on the two leaders’ campaigns. Will the ban affect their parties’ chances of winning the elections?
Stay tuned to find out.