Himachal Pradesh BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti, who had used an obscene slur for Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has been barred from campaigning for 48 hours by the Election Commission, news agency ANI has reported.
Mr Satti cannot campaign from 10 am tomorrow onwards for two days for violating the Model Code of Conduct.
Earlier this week, at a public event in Baddi town of the Shimla Lok Sabha constituency, Mr Satti said that if Mr Gandhi can call Prime Minister Narendra Modi -- who refers to himself as India's chowkidar (watchman) -- a thief, he is also free to abuse him. "Rahul Gandhi is out on bail, his mother is out on bail, his brother-in-law is out on bail, and yet he calls the Prime Minister a thief. A Punjabi man asked me to convey this to you with a heavy heart, and that inspires me to tell you this. If PM Modi is a thief, then you are a m********," he was heard saying in a video widely circulated on social media.
The Congress workers in Himachal Pradesh have been holding protests against Mr Satti's remarks for the last couple of days. Mr Satti has also been booked under section 294 (obscene act) of the Indian Penal Code by Baddi police in Himachal Pradesh.
PM Modi has declared himself as the chowkidar who watches over the country's borders and wealth, and the same idea was used to shape the BJP campaign "Main Bhi Chowkidar" for the Lok Sabha elections across the country recently. However, the Congress countered his claim to allege that "Chowkidar Chor Hain (the watchman is a thief)", referring to the Rafale fighter jet deal with France in particular.
The Congress has alleged irregularities in the Rafale deal, saying that the government was procuring each aircraft at a cost of over Rs. 1,670 crore as against Rs. 526 crore finalised by the UPA government when it was negotiating the deal.
With inputs from ANI
Disclaimer: NDTV has been sued for 10,000 crores by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group for its coverage of the Rafale deal.