After being barred by the Election Commission of India (ECI) from campaigning for three days, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday visited temples in Ayodhya and Balrampur, met saints, and broke bread at a Dalit community member's house.
The visits and meetings have prompted the BSP to complain to ECI that the CM violated the ban. The ECI on Monday barred Adityanath from campaigning for 72 hours, starting 6 am on Tuesday, for his communal remarks.
In his complaint to the EC, BSP Faizabad district president Mahendra Pratap Anand said the chief minister campaigned in the village, which was a violation of the ban order by the poll panel.
Adityanath travelled to the Hanuman Gari Temple in Ayodhya and also visited the disputed Ram Janma Bhumi-Babri Masjid site. From there, he travelled to Sugriva Fort and participated in an aarti on the banks of the Sarayu River before leaving for the Devipatan temple in Balrampur district.
In Ayodhya, Adityanath was welcomed with the chants of "Jai Shri Ram" and "Jai Bajarang Bali". He recited "Hanuman Chalisa" at the Hanuman Gari Temple. He ate his lunch at a Dalit's house in Soothati slum of Ayodhya. The family, a beneficiary of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, received Rs 2 lakh for house construction.
During his stay in Ayodhya, the head priest of the Gorakhnath Math met seers and saints, including Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Digambar Akhara Mahant Suresh Das and Vishva Hindu Parishad spokesperson Sharad Sharma.
While Yogi drove to the Devipatan temple in Balrampur district at night, sources said he will visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, the CM met one Niaz Begum in Lucknow, who, according to his official spokesperson, told him that her husband porced her by means of triple talaq. She, the spokesperson said, demanded strict action against her husband, who married another woman, and in-laws for harassing her over dowry and triple talaq.
Adityanath also spoke to differently-abled girls at Saket School in Lucknow. BJP candidate from Gorakh-pur, Ravi Kishan, called on Adit-yanath and sought his blessings.
Tweets pulled down
Two tweets by Adityanath with communal overtures have been taken down by Twitter following a directive from the Election Commission, sources said Wednesday. The tweets posted on April 5 had referred to the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) as a "green virus".
The IUML moved the Election Commission against the tweets and urged it to block Adityanath’s Twitter account. "The tweets have been removed from the timeline of the Twitter account of the UP Chief Minister," an official said. A message in place of the tweets reads, "This Tweet from @myogiadityanath has been withheld in India in response to a legal demand."