The Election Commission of India has issued a notice to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for seeking votes on religious grounds. The EC has given the TMC chief 48 hours to explain her decision to make the statement, failing which the commission will take appropriate action against her.
The notice came after ECI received a complaint from a delegation of BJP leaders about her speech on April 3rd, in which she urged Muslims not to split their votes. Mamata Banerjee said at a rally in Tarakeswar, Hooghly, “I request my minority brothers and sisters with folded hands not to divide the Muslim votes after listening to the Shaitan who has taken money.”
Mamata Banerjee used the term ‘Shaitan’ to refer to Indian Secular Front leader Abbas Siddiqui, who is running in an alliance with the BJP and the left parties. She had stated that “a BJP friend has come from Hyderabad.” He is spending crores of rupees with a boy from Furfura Sharif and yelling communal slogans. They are not only attempting to divide Hindus and Muslims, but also to split Muslim votes,” he said, referring to AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi and ISF chief Abbas Siddiqu.
While requesting the Muslims to vote in unison for her party, she had then appealed the Hindus to not vote on the basis of religion. Alleging that BJP was planning to divide people on the basis of religion, she had asked Hindus not to vote for BJP.
After receiving the complaint from BJP delegation led by Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, EC scrutinised the speech of Mamata Banerjee, and found that it violates the Representation of Peoples Act and the Model Code of Conduct for elections. As per EC, the speech violates section 123 (3), 3(A) of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951, and clauses 2, 3 and 4 of Part I of the General Conduct of Model Code of Conduct for the guidance of political parties and candidates.