Calling her assertion — made throughout a speech at Tarakeshwar in Hooghly on April 3 — as a violation of Section 123 of Representation of the People Act (corrupt practices/selling enmity alongside communal traces for furthering prospects of election of a candidate) and a number of other provisions of the mannequin code, the ballot panel requested Banerjee to clarify her remarks inside 48 hours of receipt of the EC notice.
The BJP had on April 3 complained to EC alleging that Banerjee, a contesting candidate from 210-Nandigram AC, had throughout a speech in Hooghly, telecast on TV channel ABP Ananda, appealed to the Muslim voters not to let their vote be cut up amongst totally different political events.
As per transcript of her speech despatched to EC by chief electoral officer of West Bengal, Banerjee, whereas mentioning scholarships given to college college students, talked about Shikshashree for SC/ST, Swami Vivekananda Scholarship for common class and Aikyashree “for my brothers and sisters belonging to the minority community”.
“I have given it to 2.35 crore beneficiaries. I am requesting my minority brothers and sisters with folded hands don’t divide the minority votes after listening to the devil (Shaitaan) person who has taken money from the BJP,” she said.
The EC notice cited model code provision that requires criticism of political parties to be confined to their policies and programme, past record and work, and not extend to personal lives of leaders/candidates or be based on unverified allegation. Another provision debars appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes. Also, EC drew attention to MCC provision that states that all parties and candidates shall avoid scrupulously all activities which are “corrupt practices” and offences beneath the election regulation reminiscent of bribing and intimidation of voters.
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