The Election Commission (EC) on Thursday imposed a 24-hour ban on West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh from election campaigning for making "highly provocative and inciteful remarks" in connection with Sitalkuchi violence.
In its order, the Commission sternly warned Ghosh and advised him to desist from using such statement while making public utterances during the period when the Model Code of Conduct is in force. The ban imposed on Ghosh will be valid till April 16.
The EC has issued a notice to Ghosh on Tuesday over his remark on the killings of four men at Sitalkuchi in West Bengal's Cooch Behar district and asked him to clarify his stance on the issue by 10 am on Wednesday.
Ghosh had remarked that there will be a "Sitalkuchi-like incident everywhere".
After his reply, the Commission noted that it has "carefully considered the reply of Dilip Ghosh and is of the considered view that he has violated clauses (1) and (4) of Part I of 'General Conduct of Model Code of Conduct for the guidance of political parties and candidates' and made highly provocative and inciteful remarks which could adversely impact law and order thereby affecting the election process".
In his reply, the BJP state president had submitted that "it was never his intention to make any statement which would be in contravention of the Model Code of Conduct and the Representation of People Act/Indian Penal Code".
"Notwithstanding the above, if at all any of his expression is construed as a violation of any provision of MCC, he respectfully submits that he will be in careful in future. He regrets his remarks," Ghosh said in his reply to the EC.
Earlier, BJP candidate Rahul Sinha was also banned from campaigning for 48 hours for his remarks on the violence in Sitalkuchi, while another party candidate Sayantan Basu was issued a notice today for the same.
A violent incident in Sitalkuchi, Cooch Behar district occurred during the fourth phase polls, where four people were killed after security personnel opened fire.
The high-decibel campaigning for the fifth phase polls concluded at 6 pm on Wednesday as the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic continued to rage on.
This phase of polling will be held on Saturday, with 319 candidates contesting for 45 constituencies across six districts - Jalpaiguri, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Nadia, North 24 Parganas and Purba Bardhaman.
India on Thursday reported its highest-ever single-day spike in COVID-19 with over 2 lakh cases, according to the Union Health Ministry.
With 2,00,739 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the country's total number of cases now stands at 1,40,74,564, including 14,71,877 active cases.
( With inputs from ANI )
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