EC bans Anurag Thakur for 72 hours from campaigning, Parvesh Verma for 96 hours

EC to ban Anurag Thakur for 72 hours, Pravesh Verma for 96 hours from campaigning

BJP leaders Anurag Thakur (L) and Pravesh Verma.

The Election Commission Thursday imposed a 72-hour campaigning ban on BJP MP Anurag Thakur and 96-hour ban on party leader Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma for their provocative comments on Shaheen Bagh protesters.

In its official release, the poll watchdog stated that the ban is effective from 5 pm on 30th January. Both leaders have been barred from holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows and interviews, public utterances in media (electronic, print, social media) in connection with the forthcoming elections.

On Wednesday, the poll body had ordered the removal of Thakur and Verma from the party’s list of star campaigners.

The EC's decision came after Thakur, who is Minister of State for Finance, encouraged the crowd at a BJP election rally this week to chant “desh ke gaddaron ko goli maaro saalon ko”. Verma, who is an MP from West Delhi, said that Shaheen Bagh protesters could “enter homes and rape sisters and daughters”.

In wake of the statements made by the two BJP leaders, the EC reiterated its past instructions on the Model Code of Conduct to all political parties Wednesday. The Code forbids communally divisive statements during election campaigns, criticism of the private life of candidates and leaders or personal attacks and the use of religion for election propaganda, among other things.

On Monday, speaking at a rally in Rithala which was to be addressed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and his cabinet colleague Giriraj Singh, Thakur led the chanting by saying “Desh ke gaddaron ko”, and people completed the slogan saying “goli maaro saalon ko”.

Speaking to The Indian Express later, Thakur said he merely asked people what should be done with traitors of the country. “I just wanted people to say what is to be done with traitors of the country. It could have evoked a response like ‘vote them out’ or ‘throw them out’. But it was the people who reacted so,” he said.

On Tuesday, Verma said if the anti-CAA and NRC protests at Shaheen Bagh continued, Delhi will face a “Kashmir-like situation”. He also said protesters at Shaheen Bagh “can enter homes and rape our sisters and daughters”. The protesters at Shaheen Bagh are predominantly women.