Communal pitch: EC gags Yogi for 72 hours, Mayawati for 48 hours

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Mayawati and Yogi Adityanath

Acting on a nudge by the Supreme Court on Monday, the Election Commission has issued separate gag orders against Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and BSP supremo Mayawati.

The order comes shortly after the election body was pulled up by the top court for not acting against political leaders for violating the Model Code.

Mayawati was addressing a poll rally in Saharanpur’s Deoband on April 7, when she appealed to the Muslim community in Uttar Pradesh not to waste their vote on Congress candidates, but to vote en masse in favour of SP-BSP alliance nominees in order to defeat the BJP in Uttar Pradesh.

Responding to her statement, Yogi Adityanath had remarked: “If the Congress, SP and BSP have faith in ‘Ali’, we have faith in ‘Bajrang Bali’, the followers of Bajrang Bali will not tolerate them.”

The Election Commission had served both Mayawati and Yogi Adityanath with show cause notice. But within an hour after SC’s nudge, the EC issued gag orders under Article 324 of the Constitution.

As a result, the two leaders are barred “from holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows and interviews, public utterances (electronic, print, social media) etc in connection with ongoing elections” – for 72 hours for Yogi Adityanath and 48 hours for Mayawati. The order comes into effect from 6:00 AM on April 16.

This is the first incidence of such action over violation of Model Code taken  by the Election Commission this election season.

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