EC bars Azam Khan from campaigning for three days, Maneka Gandhi for two

Azam Khan at his Rampur home. Express archive

Hours after he made derogatory "comments" against BJP’s Rampur candidate Jaya Prada, Samajwadi party leader Azam Khan was barred from campaigning for 72 hours by the Election Commission on Monday for violating the model code of conduct. The poll body also barred union minister Maneka Gandhi from campaigning for saying she "will not be inclined to help Muslims if they do not vote for her in the upcoming polls".

Earlier in the day, the election commission also barred UP CM Yogi Adityanath and BSP Supremo Mayawati from campaigning for a similar offence.

While Azam Khan has been barred for three days, Maneka Gandhi will face the censure for two days starting 10 am on Tuesday. The EC order comes three days ahead of the second phase of Lok Sabha elections.

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At a public rally with party president Akhilesh Yadav and other senior leaders on the dais, Khan allegedly commented on Jaya Prada's association with the RSS and said, "What is the difference between you and me? People of Rampur, people of Uttar Pradesh and the people of India. It took you 17 years to understand her true face. But I realised in 17 days... that she wears khakhi underwear." Khan drew criticism from all quarters for the remark. An FIR was also registered against him.

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Union minister Maneka Gandhi at the Parliament house in New Delhi. (Express Photo by Prem Nath Pandey/File)

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi, who is the BJP candidate from Sultanpur in UP, told a crowd Thursday that she will not be inclined to help Muslims if they do not vote for her in the upcoming polls. The UP poll office taking note of her speech and the district administration served her notice. "I am winning the election... With the help and love of people. But if I win without help from Muslims, the feelings are soured. Then when Muslims come seeking jobs, I will think let it be, what difference does it make? After all, jobs are a kind of trade. We are not like Mahatma Gandhi - that we will keep on giving, and then keep getting beaten in elections," Gandhi told the crowd.

Maya, Yogi also barred

The Election Commission "strongly condemned" Yogi Adityanath and Mayawati for their communal remarks and barred them from campaigning for different periods. While Adityanath was barred for 72 hours, Mayawati has been barred for 48 hours, separate EC orders said. The two have also been "censured".

Mayawati was issued the notice for her speech in Deoband appealing to Muslims to not vote for a particular party. The BSP chief had prima facie violated the model code of conduct, the poll panel found. Adityanath was served the notice for his "Ali" and "Bajrang Bali" remarks while addressing a rally in Meerut.