EC gives Mamata Banerjee 48 hours to explain her appeal asking Muslims not to split their votes

The Election Commission of India on Wednesday asked Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee to explain her stand on her alleged appeal for votes on communal lines. The poll panel has asked her to respond to its notice within 48 hours.

The EC notice comes after it received a complaint from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which alleged that on April 3, Mamata Banerjee in her speech “appealed to the Muslim voters not to let their vote be split among different political parties”.

The BJP alleged that by stating this, Mamata Banerjee was “openly demanding votes on communal ground for the TMC”.

MAMATA VIOLATED POLL CODE: EC

In its notice, the Election Commission said after examining an authenticated transcript of Mamata Banerjee’s speech from the said date, it is of the view that she has violated the Representation of People Act, 1951 and also the Model Code of Conduct for elections.

“Now, therefore, the Commission gives you [Mamata Banerjee] an opportunity to explain your stand in making the above said statement, within 48 hours, failing which the Commission shall take a decision without further reference to you,” the EC notice said.

WHAT DID MAMATA SAY IN HER SPEECH?

Addressing an election rally in Tarakeshwar, Hooghly on April 3, Mamata Banerjee urged the minorities “with folded hands” to not divide their votes after listening to the BJP.

“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 had taken money from the BJP. He passes many communal statements and initiates clashes between the Hindus and the Muslims. He is one of the apostles of the BJP, a comrade. The comrades of CPM and BJP is roaming around with the money given by BJP to divide the minority votes, Please don’t allow them to do so.”

“Keep in mind that if the BJP comes into the government then you will be in severe danger. I also will tell my Hindu brothers and sister not to make division amongst yourselves as Hindus and Muslims after listening to the BJP,” she said.

TMC ATTACKS EC OVER NOTICE

Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress has slammed the Election Commission over its notice to Mamata Banerjee asking why it has not acted on TMC’s complaints against the BJP.

TMC leader and Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra tweeted, “Mamatadi issued notice by @ECISVEEP on @BJP’s complaint What about TMC complaints of (1) Video evidence of BJP candidate distributing cash; (2) Cash coupons distributed to attend BJP meeting and vote. Gentlemen – at least keep up the farce of impartiality!

By Ayush Kashyap

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