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EC censures Sakshi Maharaj for Meerut speech

A file photo of BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj

A file photo of BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj

The Election Commission (EC) on Thursday censured BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj for his recent speech in Meerut that allegedly promoted enmity on religious grounds, telling him that such violation of the Model Code of Conduct would attract stringent action.

 

The Commission received Sakshi Maharaj’s reply to its notice on Wednesday, in which he did not deny having made the statements in question. Requesting to withdraw the notice, he submitted that he had made the statements not at any public or election meeting, but at a “Sant Samagam” and so they did not violate the Model Code of Conduct.

Having considered the response, the Commission said it was not satisfied with the reply as it was of the view - also supported by the recent Supreme Court judgment - that any statement to the effect of promoting enmity between different classes of society in connection with the elections on the grounds of religion made during electioneering or otherwise was in violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

Accordingly, the EC censured Sakshi Maharaj, accusing him of violating the code of conduct and the Supreme Court judgment. The censure note said the Commission expected that he, being a reputed political leader and an MP, should be more circumspect in public utterances during the election time.

“You may also take a note that in case of any violation of MCC [Model Code of Conduct] in future the Commission shall take stern actions against you, using all powers available to it,” said the note.

 

The EC noted that the MCC was in place in the poll-bound State and that there was a Supreme Court judgment terming appeal for votes on religious grounds a ‘corrupt practice’ under Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act. In the notice to the BJP MP, it raised questions on the speech given by him on January 6.

The Congress lodged a complaint on January 7, alleging that Sakshi Maharaj’s speech, read in entirety, had the effect of promoting enmity between different classes in connection with the election on grounds of religion. In the speech, he allegedly said that it was not the Hindu community, but those who talked about four wives and 40 children were responsible for the population growth.

The Meerut police have registered a case against Sakshi Maharaj in this connection.


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Printable version | Jul 2, 2022 10:31:39 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ec-censures-sakshi-maharaj-for-meerut-speech/article62057859.ece