The Election Commission on Tuesday reprimanded Deputy Chief Minister K.S. Eshwarappa for hate speech at a meeting in Shimoga on April 9.

Mr. Eshwarappa is the BJP candidate in Shimoga Assembly constituency for the May 5 polls.

“The perusal of your impugned statement leaves no one in doubt that the same has the effect of inciting communal feelings and promoting hatred and ill-will between different classes of citizens of India, in a surcharged election atmosphere, which is prohibited under the model code of conduct. Now, therefore, the commission has decided to reprimand you for having made the above provocative statement in violation of the model code of conduct and has cautioned you to be careful in future,” the Election Commission said.

It rejected Mr. Eshwarappa’s reply to its notice, quoting a judgment of the Karnataka High Court, wherein he had claimed that the model code of conduct would come into force from the day of notification of the election (issued on April 10) and not the date of announcement of polls (March 20). The Election Commission quoted a verdict of the Supreme Court to justify its stand on the date when the poll code would come into effect.

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