Lok Sabha elections 2019: Poll watchdog again bans SP leader Azam Khan for 48 hours
The EC said that Khan’s speeches along the religious lines had the “propensity to polarise the elections”.Updated: Apr 30, 2019 22:38 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The Election Commission on Tuesday barred senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Azam Khan for 48 hours from campaigning due to his “objectionable comments” against local poll authorities. This is his second censure this month.
In a statement, the poll watchdog said Khan, who is fighting the elections from the Rampur Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh, made “highly provocative speeches in his public utterances against the district election machinery and also on religious lines that have the propensity to polarize the elections.”
At a rally last week, Khan had alleged that the district election authorities were biased during elections to the Uttar Pradesh constituency that was held on April 23.
A case has already been registered against him.
The EC said Khan had sought votes on religious lines and added that it “strongly condemned” his statements and warned him to not repeat “such misconduct” in the future. His 48-hour ban comes into effect from 6 am on May 1. There are three phases of elections left in UP, which sends the highest number of members, 80, to the Lok Sabha.
This is the second time the EC has taken action against Khan, who is up against his former protégé, actor, and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Jaya Prada for the seat. On April 15, the poll body had banned Khan for 72 hours for objectionable comments made against Jaya Prada during an election rally.
A Samajwadi Party spokesperson said: “He had kept quiet and stayed indoors when the last time EC had banned him. He had followed the ban to the letter and spirit. This time it will be easier for him Azam Khan is not speaking anymore anyways. The elections in his constituency were over on April 23.”
First Published: Apr 30, 2019 20:30 IST