EC Bars Nadia BJP President From Campaigning

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Kolkata: The Election Commission on Friday barred BJP’s Nadia district president Mahadev Sarkar from campaigning for two days after it found him guilty of violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for making sexist remarks against Trinamool candidate Mahua Moitra during an election campaign in West Bengal.

The poll panel said he would be barred from holding any public meeting, procession, rally, road show, interviews or make any public utterances in media in connection with the ongoing elections for 48 hours from 4 p.m. on Friday till 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The Supreme Court had on Thursday issued notice to the EC to take appropriate action against party workers for making sexist remarks against Moitra.

Earlier, the poll panel had served a show cause notice on Sarkar for “derogatory remarks”. After watching a video of his remarks, the Commission had taken strong objection to them and had asked him to clarify as to why he had made such remarks against a rival candidate.

In his response, while he did not deny making the alleged statement on Moitra, Sarkar said the matter did not come under the MCC. The EC felt otherwise and said his remarks “clearly violated” the MCC’s provision which said the “criticism of opponents should be confined to their policies and programme, past record and work”.

“Parties and candidates shall refrain from criticism of all aspects of private life not connected with public activities of the leaders or workers of other parties. Criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified allegations or distortion shall be avoided,” the EC order said.

The poll panel “strongly condemned” Sarkar’s statements and “severely reprimanded” him for the same while barring him from campaigning.