Bengal: EC sends notice to BJP's Suvendu Adhikari for 'hate speech' in Nandigram

Published on Apr 08, 2021 09:09 PM IST
The complaint against Suvendu Adhikari was lodged by Kavita Krishnan, a member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI-ML). It concerns an alleged "hate speech" delivered by Adhikari in his constituency of Nandigram while campaigning on March 29 for the West Bengal assembly polls.
Suvendu Adhikari joined the BJP in December last year after alleging that the TMC has become corrupt and there is ‘extremely deep rot’ within it. (HT_PRINT)
Suvendu Adhikari joined the BJP in December last year after alleging that the TMC has become corrupt and there is ‘extremely deep rot’ within it. (HT_PRINT)
By | Written by Joydeep Bose

The Election Commission of India has sent a notice to BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari over a case of alleged "hate speech", delivered by him while campaigning for the ongoing West Bengal assembly polls on March 29 in constituency of Nandigram. The complaint against Adhikari was lodged by Kavita Krishnan, a member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI-ML), who claimed that the "hate speech" was delivered in a public meeting and has since been widely reported in the media.

Suvendu Adhikari contested on April 1 against West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee from the high-profile constituency of Nandigram in the second phase of the ongoing state assembly polls. Adhikari, a former close aide of Banerjee's, joined the BJP in December last year and had since then accused her of religious appeasement, among other charges, during the run-up to the polls.

The Election Commission, in its notice issued on Thursday, said that the speech in question concerned Adhikari making references to one "Begum", telling the audience that voting for his political opponent implies voting for a "mini Pakistan". Adhikari also made the reference of a 'lotus', used by deities in mythic Hindu rituals, and urged his audience to thus "vote for lotus".

Also Read: In Bengal’s Nandigram, Didi turns ‘begum’ in Suvendu Adhikari’s poll speech

The EC has provided an authenticated transcript of the relevant speech delivered by Adhikari on March 29, as received from the Chief Electoral Officer, and also highlighted the aforementioned sections in the notice. The constitutional authority in charge of the elections noted that the said sections have been found to be in violation of clauses (2) and (3) of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), issued by the EC with regard to the ongoing West Bengal assembly polls. Clause (2) of the MCC states that candidates are barred from criticising the private lives of their political opponents and should refrain from making criticisms based on "unverified allegations or distortion". Clause (3) states that appealing to "caste or communal feelings for securing votes" is prohibited. The clause also states that mosques, churches, temples, or other places of worship shall not be used as forum of election propaganda. The alleged communal overtones in Adhikari's speech are in violation of these clauses in the MCC, the EC noted.

Suvendu Adhikari had earlier said that he will defeat West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee by over 50,000 votes from Nandigram. The BJP and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) are at loggerheads in the poll-bound state. The top leadership of the BJP has been holding public meetings and roadshows across the state in recent months, promising a renewed 'Sonar (Golden) Bengal', while the TMC is primarily banking on the popularity of Banerjee's welfare schemes.

Elections to the 294-member West Bengal Assembly are being held in eight phases, which started from March 27. The fourth phase of the elections will take place on April 10, and a total of 373 candidates will take part in the upcoming Phase IV of polls, out of which over 20% candidates have declared serious criminal cases against them. The fifth phase of the elections will take place on April 17. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2022
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