The Congress party has taken strong exception to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's personal remarks against the party's state president Salman Khurshid at an election rally.
"Salman Khurshid claims to be a Muslim but he married a Christian woman. Couldn't he find one Muslim girl to marry?" Mayawati told a rally on Sunday during her campaign ahead of a by-election for the Farrukhabad assembly seat.
She was reacting to Khurshid's observations at Congress rallies, describing Anant Kumar Misra, BSP's candidate in Farukkhabad, as an "outsider", since he belongs to Kanpur.
Three Dalit leaders of the Congress party have now written a letter to the chief minister, accusing her of violating the Election Commission's code of conduct by hitting Khurshid below the belt.
The letter, signed by state Congress vice president AP Gautam, former minister Raj Bahadur and bureaucrat-turned-politician PL Punia, points out that the remarks were not only "objectionable" but also "unbecoming of a person occupying the highest office in the state".
The letter was delivered to Mayawati's office on Monday evening.
"By making such personal remarks against the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president, you have violated the provisions of Section 7 of the election code of conduct," it said.
The provision states: "No aspect of personal life not connected with the activities of the leaders or workers of other parties shall be permitted to be criticised."
The letter added: "Perhaps you would remember that your own ideologue Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar had conceived a casteless society and that is why he chose to marry a Brahmin. Therefore an insinuating remark about a rival political leader's caste or religion from you was all the more regrettable."