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Ajmal served showcause notice by EC

Guwahati, April 11: Assam’s chief electoral officer Vijayendra today issued a showcause notice to AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal for his alleged controversial and communal statement against the BJP.

Ajmal, who is contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Dhubri parliamentary constituency, told a few television journalists last month that Allah would not forgive him if he or his party somehow facilitated the victory of the BJP in the state in the ensuing polls.

Responding to questions that the AIUDF had reached a secret understanding with the ruling Congress for the polls, Ajmal told the reporters that he would go to any extent to defeat the BJP. The Assam BJP immediately approached the Election Commission and lodged a complaint of violation of poll code of conduct against Ajmal, alleging that the latter was trying to make attempts to pollute the democratic and secular traditions of Assam.

“Ajmal should be sent to judicial custody or put under house arrest for seeking votes in the name of Allah,” the general secretary of the BJP’s state unit, Santanu Bharali, said.

The election department today issued the showcause notice and asked Ajmal to explain why action should not be taken against him for making such alleged communal statement.

Ajmal has been asked to submit his reply by 11.30am on Monday.

A press communiqué issued by the election department stated that in case Ajmal fails to come up with his reply within the stipulated deadline, punitive action would be initiated against him immediately.

Sources told this correspondent that in case of lacking in timely and satisfactory reply, the Election Commission might put restrictions on Ajmal to campaign for the polls. Dhubri, from where Ajmal is contesting, will go to the polls on April 24.

The AIUDF has fielded 10 and 8 candidates in Assam and West Bengal respectively.

Assam BJP president Sarbananda Sonowal thanked the poll panel for initiating action against Ajmal and said the latter’s remark was an attempt to “pollute the secular and democratic tradition” of the state.

According to Sonowal, communalism has no place in Assam since it is considered to be the land of Xankardev and Ajan peer.

Earlier, the BJP had accused Assam chief electoral officer Vijayendra of inaction regarding its complaints on violation of the model code of conduct in the state.

Ajmal could not be contacted for his comment. Sources said Ajmal was busy campaigning for his party candidates in interior places of Bengal.

A party official close to Ajmal said reply to the showcause notice would be submitted within the stipulated deadline.

“Uttering the name of Allah cannot be communal. Basically, Ajmal was expressing his political view before journalists,” the AIUDF office-bearer said.

Assam PCC has maintained distance from the controversy.

An office-bearer, while refusing to comment on the showcause notice, said the Congress believes in democracy and secularism.