The Election Commission has issued a notice to Suvendu Adhikari, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Nandigram in West Bengal, for alleged communal overtones in his speech made last month.
He has been asked to respond to the notice within 24 hours.
The notice said the poll panel received a complaint from Kavita Krishnan of CPI-ML Central Committee in which it was alleged that on March 29 Adhikari delivered a "hate speech" in Nandigram while addressing a public meeting.
The poll body referred to two provisions of the Model Code of Conduct which state that criticism of other political parties, when made, shall be confined to their policies and programmes, past record and work. Criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified allegations or distortion shall be avoided.
Another provision states that there shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes.
The notice said the poll body has been found to be in violation of certain clauses of the model code. Adhikari is pitted against chief minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram.