03 Apr 2021: BJP's Himanta Sarma challenges 48-hour campaign ban in Gauhati HC
Assam Minister and senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Himanta Biswa Sarma was on Friday barred from election campaigning ahead of the third and final round of Assembly polls in the state.
The order was issued by the Election Commission yesterday for allegedly threatening an Opposition leader.
Sarma has since challenged the order in the Gauhati High Court.
Here are more details.
Context: Why was ban order issued to Sarma?
The poll body issued the ban order after upholding a complaint by the Congress.
The Congress alleged that Sarma had openly threatened to send Bodoland People's Front (BPF) leader Hagrama Mohilary to jail by misusing a central probe agency.
Mohilary is currently a member of the Opposition alliance but was earlier an ally of the BJP.
Order: 'EC condemns the impugned statements made by Sarma'
The Election Commission said in its order, "The Commission hereby strongly condemns the impugned statements made by Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma, BJP leader and star campaigner... bars him from holding any public meetings, processions, rallies, road shows, interviews and public utterances in media (electronic, print, social media, etc.)."
The ban came into effect last night, just days ahead of the final round of elections.
Speech: What had Sarma said in his controversial speech?
In an election campaign speech on March 28, Sarma had reportedly said, "If Hagrama Mohilary does extremism...he will go to jail. This is a straight talk...Already got a lot of evidence. This case is being given to NIA (National Investigation Agency)."
Two days after that, a delegation of the Congress party met with Election Commission officials to file a formal complaint.
Response: Sarma challenges the order in the Gauhati High Court
Sarma has since moved the Gauhati High Court challenging the EC's ban on him.
The hearing in the matter is expected to take place in some time, NDTV reported.
Meanwhile, the EC has also transferred Sarma's brother and Goalpara Superintendent of Police Susanta Biswa Sarma from the district.
He will now be moved to a post in the state headquarters, reports said.
Elections: Elections in Assam to conclude on April 6
On Thursday, April 1, a total of 39 Assembly seats went to polls in Assam in the second phase of the ongoing elections.
The first phase was held on March 27.
The third and final phase of elections in the state is due to be held on April 6 for the remaining 40 constituencies.
The results will be declared on May 2.