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EC axes BJP duo from star campaigner list

Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma can continue to campaign for now
Anurag Thakur had led the crowd at an election rally in chanting: “Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaro….”
Anurag Thakur had led the crowd at an election rally in chanting: “Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaro….”
(PTI photo)

Pheroze L. Vincent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 29.01.20, 09:58 PM

The Election Commission on Wednesday removed a Union minister and an MP from the BJP’s list of star campaigners for the Delhi Assembly elections and sent them showcause notices for violating sections of The Representation of The People Act that prohibit the promotion of enmity or hatred.

Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma have time to reply till Thursday and can continue to campaign for now. Their travel expenses will be billed to individual candidates they canvass for, which does not make much of a difference in Delhi where use of helicopters is not needed.


Thakur, a junior minister in the Narendra Modi government, had led the crowd at an election rally in chanting: “Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaro….” (Shoot the traitors).

Verma, the West Delhi MP, told a public meeting that the protesters from Shaheen Bagh — a sit-in against the citizenship law led by women — “could enter houses and rape and kill your sisters and daughters”.

Both were unrepentant. Verma told India Today TV: “I will continue to campaign in my constituency… I have said nothing wrong. Have spoken based on facts on what is happening in the country.”

Thakur told ANI: “First you should watch the entire video... Then you should see the mood of the people of Delhi.”

Travel expenses of star campaigners are not added to the expenditure of individual candidates, who have a spending limit of Rs 28 lakh for contesting an Assembly election in Delhi.

Addressing a news conference, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said: “I have just got information that the EC has issued some direction. We will study and, if necessary, present a letter and application… But more importantly, the BJP is putting up a balanced campaign with positivity. We are discussing about the development of Delhi. What we will do for Delhi, what the Modi government has done for Delhi and the way the state government created hurdles in our efforts.”

The election authorities took suo motu cognisance of the communal barbs against the Shaheen Bagh protest, with Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party, which is the BJP’s main opponent, largely ignoring such speeches. However, AAP has complained to the poll panel on the BJP’s charges on schools and against chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

AAP filed two complaints on Wednesday. The first was against a BJP video on a dilapidated government school that the AAP says has been shifted. The other was against Verma calling chief minister Arvind Kejriwal a terrorist.

AAP MP Sanjay Singh told reporters: “Many parents of children who study in Delhi government schools are very hurt by the statement of Mr Amit Shah and the other BJP MPs regarding the condition of the schools. When the parents witnessed that Mr Amit Shah and the BJP are sharing fabricated videos of the schools where their children study they felt insulted and they are also of the view that by sharing such fabricated videos the BJP has insulted the students, parents, teachers of the Delhi government schools. The parents of Delhi government school students have decided to file defamation case of Rs 100 crore against Mr Amit Shah.”

Kejriwal has blamed the BJP for the road blockade at Shaheen Bagh continuing, and said it would end the day after votes are cast. Police powers in Delhi are with the Centre.

Delhi will vote on February 8. The results will be declared on February 11.

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