The Election Commission of India has issued a notice to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee for appealing for votes on the basis of religion. The EC has given 48 hours to the TMC chief to explain her in making the statement, failing which the commission will taken appropriate action against her.
The notice was issued after ECI had received a complaint from a delegation of BJP leaders over her speech on 3rd April, where she had appealed the Muslims to not split their vote. Addressing a rally in Tarakeswar in Hooghly, Mamata Banerjee had said, “I am requesting my minority brothers and sisters with folded hands don’t divide the Muslim votes after listening to the Shaitan who has taken money from the BJP. He passes many communal statements and initiate clashes between the Hindu and the Muslims.”
By ‘Shaitan’, Mamata Banerjee had referred to Indian Secular Front leader Abbas Siddiqui, who is contesting the polls in alliance with BJP and the left parties.
She had said, “a friend of BJP has come from Hyderabad. Along with a boy from Furfura Sharif he is spending crores of rupees and giving communal slogans. They are not only trying to divide Hindus and Muslims, but even attempting to split the Muslim votes,” attacking AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi and ISF chief Abbas Siddiqui.
Alleging that Siddiqui has taken money from BJP to divide Muslim votes, Banerjee had appealed to the Muslim voters to not let it happen. While requesting the Muslims to vote in unison for her party, she had then appealed the Hindus to not vote on the basis of religion. Alleging that BJP was planning to divide people on the basis of religion, she had asked Hindus not to vote for BJP.
After receiving the complaint from BJP delegation led by Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, EC scrutinised the speech of Mamata Banerjee, and found that it violates the Representation of Peoples Act and the Model Code of Conduct for elections. As per EC, the speech violates section 123 (3), 3(A) of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951, and clauses 2, 3 and 4 of Part I of the General Conduct of Model Code of Conduct for the guidance of political parties and candidates.