The Election Commission (EC) issued notice, returnable by 5 p.m. on Thursday, to the former Gujarat Chief Minister, Shankersinh Vaghela, seeking an explanation for his alleged “objectionable and inflammatory speech which can incite and induce communal hatred.”
Mr. Vaghela made the speech at a public meeting at the BRC ground in Surat on October 3. The Assembly elections in the State are scheduled for December 13 and 17.
The notice said the EC received a complaint from the convener of the Gujarat unit of the BJP’s legal cell, Parindu Bhagat, and reports from the State Chief Electoral Officer, the Surat District Election Officer and the Udhna Assembly constituency Returning Officer, stating that Mr. Vaghela “violated the Model Code of Conduct by inciting communal feelings of the people through “his speech.”
“Whereas, in your election campaign by making such objectionable and inflammatory speech which can incite and induce communal hatred, you have, prima facie, committed the electoral offences under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and the Indian Penal Code and have also violated the provisions of Paras 1(1) and (3) of the Model code of conduct”, the notice said, warning Mr. Vaghela that if he did not reply back, the EC would decide on the issue without any further reference to him.