The Election Commission (EC) on Monday served a show cause notice to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and abetting bribery during one of his election rallies.
In one of his election meetings at Gyanpur in Bhadohi on 4 March, Akhilesh allegedly told the public to take money from the rival candidate but keep in mind the “cycle” – Samajwadi Party's election symbol – while voting.
The EC has sought a reply from Akhilesh by Tuesday evening as to why action should not be initiated against him.
Speaking about the rival candidate, Akhilesh said:
Suna hai ki bahut paisa baant raha hai. Paisa bhi rakh lena aur Cycle ko yaad rakhna (I hear he is distributing a lot of money. Keep the money, but remember the ‘cycle’).
The commission in its notice called it a prima facie violation of the MCC and abetting bribery.
“Whereas bribing and abetment of bribery is an offence under IPC, it is also a corrupt practice under 123 (1) of Representation of the People Act, 1951, and in the Commission's prima facie opinion your aforesaid statement is violative of provisions of sub-para (4) of Para (1) of the Model Code of Conduct,” the EC notice read.
“You are hereby called upon to explain latest by 5 pm on 7 March as to why action should not be taken against you, failing which the Commission shall take a decision without any further reference to you,” it added.
(This article has been edited for length.)