The election commission warned all political parties on Tuesday that comments aimed at polarising communities will invite serious repercussions.
The poll panel underlined that it will ensure compliance with the Supreme Court order barring candidates from seeking votes in the name of religion in the assembly polls that kick off in five states from February 4.
“The Commission will not remain a silent spectator if the provisions of law or the model code of conduct are violated and no one can do it with impunity,” the letter reads. It warns the Commission will “take stern actions” for violations if parties or candidates are found using statements that can create disharmony between different sections on the basis of religion.
Election commission’s remarks come on a day it issued a notice to controversial BJP parliamentarian Sakshi Maharaj over his comments that appeared to blame the Muslim community for India’s population growth.
Earlier in the day, the EC had asked the Lok Sabha MP from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh to file his reply by Wednesday morning.
Read in entirety, his remarks “have (the) effect of promoting enmity between classes of society...” the EC has noted, and prima facie violates the model code of conduct which came into force on January 4 following announcement of assembly polls in five states, including Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress and other political parties have accused Maharaj of fanning communal tension ahead of the seven-phase polls in the state.
Speaking in Meerut last week, Maharaj had urged all political parties to come together to frame “population control” laws.
“This population rise is not because of Hindus. The population has risen because of those who support the concept of four wives and 40 children. It is not acceptable,” the MP said.
Muslims form a sizeable chunk of the electorate in the country’s most populous state and are a decisive factor in many constituencies.
While the BJP said it was not the party’s stand, Maharaj later claimed he was misquoted.
Uttar Pradesh goes to polls in February and the BJP is locked in a tough fight with regional rivals Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and the Congress.