Himanta Biswa Sarma will not challenge EC's 48-hour campaign ban
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Himanta Biswa Sarma, who was barred from campaigning for 48 hours by the Election Commission of India (ECI) over his comments on his rival Hagrama Mohilary, backtracked from his decision of challenging the ban in Guwahati High Court on Saturday.
"We are not going to HC with regards to the EC order. But there are plans to approach the EC to review its order," said a source close to the leader.
Earlier in the day, reports of Sarma approaching the HC over the ban surfaced.
Sarma was banned by the poll body on Friday from campaigning or speaking in public after a Congress delegation submitted a complaint against him for 'openly threatening' to send Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) chief Mohilary to jail by 'misusing' the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
According to the Congress party, Sarma also attempted to influence citizens against voting for the alliance led by Congress.
“The commission strongly condemns the impugned statements made by Sh. Himanta Biswa Sarma, BJP leader and star campaigner,” the order issued by EC secretary Ajay Kumar Verma read.
“The commission under Article 324 of Constitution of India and all other powers enabling in this behalf, bars him from holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows, interviews and public utterances in media (electronic, print, social media) etc. in connection with ongoing elections for 48 hours from immediate effect on 02.04.2021 (Friday),” it added.
The poll body's notice to Sarma directed him to 'explain his position' by 5pm on Friday. If he fails to do so, it said, the commission will take action with no further reference to him.
The Assam Assembly elections are being held in three phases starting from March 27. The final phase is scheduled for April 6 and the results will be announced on May 2.