Nadia BJP chief Mahadeb Sarkar was today barred from campaigning for 48 hours on charges of making offensive remarks against the Trinamool Congress candidate from West Bengal's Krishnanagar constituency.
The Election Commission took the action over comments of a "personal" nature that were allegedly made by the politician in the presence of party candidate Kalyan Chaubey on April 22.
The ban, which came into force at 4 pm on Friday, will remain until the evening of April 28. The poll body's decision came a day after a three-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi ordered it to take action on the basis of a complaint lodged by Trinamool candidate Mahua Moitra. She had approached the top court after reportedly failing to get a response from the state Chief Electoral Officer.
The Election Commission condemned Mahadeb Sarkar's remarks in strong terms, claiming that he had "attacked Mahua Moitra's personal life". It said his act violates the Model Code of Conduct, which clearly states that criticism of other political parties should be confined to their policies, schemes, past record and work.
"The commission, under Article 324 of the Constitution of India and other powers, bars Mahadev Sarkar, district president, Bharatiya Janata Party, Nadia, from holding any public meeting, public procession, public rally, road show, interviews, public utterances in media (electronic, print, social media), etc, in connection with the ongoing elections for 48 hours from 4 pm on April 26, 2019, till 4 pm on 28 April, 2019 (Sunday)," the order issued by the Election Commission read.
While Mahadeb Sarkar did not deny making the remarks, he maintained that it does not violate the Model Code of Conduct.
Krishnanagar goes to the polls on April 29.
(With inputs from PTI)