Suvendu Adhikari -- Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's bitter rival in Nandigram -- was let off with a light warning by the Election Commission today. The decision coincided with the Commission's 24-hour campaigning ban on the Chief Minister -- a day she spent in a unique, solo protest at the foot of a Gandhi statue in the heart of Kolkata.
The complaint against Mr Adhikari -- an aide of Mamata Banerjee who joined the BJP in December -- was regarding his "mini Pakistan" remark about his former boss.
"You are not giving votes to the Begum," he had told the crowd at a recent election rally in Nandigram, referring to the Trinamool chief whom he has repeatedly accused of appeasing the minorities.
"If you vote for the Begum, there will be a mini-Pakistan. A Dawood Ibrahim has come up in your locality. We will note down everything," read the transcript of his speech referred to by the Election Commission.
The Commission said Mr Adhikari had violated certain provisions of the Model Code. It advised him to "desist from using such statements while making public utterances during the period when Model Code of Conduct is in force".
On Monday, the Election Commission had banned Ms Banerjee from campaigning for 24 hours over her comments on Muslim Votes and allegedly urging voters to revolt against the central security forces.
The Commission had said her remarks were "highly insinuating and provocative", could affect law and order and the thereby, the election process.
Ms Banerjee, who decided to hold a protest against the ban, sat in her wheelchair today at the foot a Gandhi statue in Esplanade. Arriving there at 11.40 am, she spent hours alone at the spot, painting.
Her Trinamool Congress, which has a running feud with the Commission, had accused it partisanship.
"When you can't beat us. You ban us," senior party leader Derek O'Brien had tweeted, announcing later that Ms Banerjee would speak at 8.01 pm sharp after the ban ends.