EC notice to Adhikari for alleged communal overtones in speech

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New Delhi, Apr 8 (PTI) The Election Commission on Thursday issued a notice to Suvendu Adhikari, the BJP candidate from Nandigram in West Bengal, for alleged communal overtones in his speech made last month.

He has been asked to respond to the notice within 24 hours.

The notice said the poll panel received a complaint from Kavita Krishnan of CPI-ML Central Committee in which it was alleged that on March 29 Adhikari delivered a 'hate speech' in Nandigram while addressing a public meeting.

'Election is knocking at the door. You are not giving votes to Begum. If you vote for Begum there will be mini Pakistan. (Barely audible)...A Daud Ibrahim has come up in your locality....We will note down everything. What is the government doing? What is the use of it? 'Which puja celebration is coming next? Ramnabami. With which flower did Ramachandra worship Maa Durga? All of you should, therefore, vote for lotus. You should press the button against number 1... In the first phase of the election votes have been cast against the politics of appeasement,' the notice quoted portion of his speech.

Adhikari asked if people understood the meaning of appeasement.

'As the election is going on we have to be cautious about our language. Do you understand what does appeasement mean? Do you understand the meaning of appeasement? Yes, you understand.

' Didn't they say after the Lok Sabha vote that they are ready to accept even the blows from those who were beneficial to them? This is appeasement. In the first phase votes were cast against appeasement. This time also votes will be cast against appeasement. The Panchayats of TMC involved in the Amphan relief scam are roaming around...', the notice quoted him.

The EC referred to two provisions of the Model Code of Conduct which state that criticism of other political parties, when made, shall be confined to their policies and programmes, past record and work. Criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified allegations or distortion shall be avoided.

Another provision states that there shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes.

The notice said the EC has been found to be in violation of certain clauses of the model code. Adhikari is pitted against chief minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram which went to polls on April 1. PTI NAB AAR AAR