The Election Commission on Tuesday barred Giriraj Singh, BJP candidate in Nawada, from holding public meetings in Bihar and Jharkhand, taking cognisance of his “highly inflammatory” speeches in which he said detractors of prime ministerial hopeful Narendra Modi had a place only in Pakistan, not in India.
The EC also slapped a show-cause on Mr. Singh, seeking a reply before 5 p.m. on April 24, failing which the Commission will take a decision without further reference to him.
In a letter to the Chief Secretaries of Jharkhand and Bihar, the EC directed that in view of Mr. Singh’s statements and “to ensure peace and tranquillity during the elections as well as a level- playing field,” FIRs must be filed, the matter probed quickly and brought to a logical conclusion.
The EC issued instructions that “no permission should be granted for holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies and roadshows … by the district administration authorities of Bihar and Jharkhand, where Mr. Singh is expected or likely to participate.”
“All preventive measures should be taken against Mr. Singh under the relevant provisions of Sections 107 to 110 and 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code to ensure that no act of commission or omission is resorted to by him which will have the effect of prejudicially affecting the public tranquillity and law and order,” said the order.
The EC expressed serious concerns over Mr. Singh’s highly inflammatory speeches and statements made on April 18 at Bokaro and Deoghar in Jharkhand.
“The said statements made by him are highly prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious communities and are also likely to disturb the peace and public tranquillity, and such public utterances by him have the malicious effect of outraging the religious feelings and religious beliefs of different classes of citizens of India and threatening some section of the voters,” said the EC.
The Commission particularly noted that part of his public utterance that “voters who do not vote for Modi shall have to find their place in Pakistan, which is totally violative of the principles of the Indian Constitution which guarantees equality before law and equal opportunity, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, and the sacred right of free exercise of franchise by the electors as per their free will and choice.”
In the notice to Mr. Singh, the EC quoted Sub Para (1) of Para 1 of the Model Code of Conduct which provides that “no party or candidate shall indulge in any activity which may aggravate the existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic”.