EC issues notice to Mamata over 'appeal' to Muslims during rally
The Election Commission issued a notice to Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday for allegedly making an appeal to voters along communal lines during campaigning in Hooghly.
She has been asked to respond to the notice within the next 48 hours.
The notice said the poll panel had received a complaint from a BJP delegation alleging that on April 3, Mamata appealed to the Muslim voters not to let their votes be split among different political parties during the election rally at Tarakeshwar in Hooghly.
The EC said it found her speech violating the provisions of the Representation of the People Act and the model code.
The poll panel referred to the following speech of Mamata, as quoted by NDTV.
“... I am requesting my minority brothers and sisters with folded hands... don't divide the minority votes after listening to the devil... who had taken money from the BJP... He passes many communal statements and initiates clashes between Hindus and Muslims... comrades of the CPI(M) and BJP are roaming around with money given by BJP to divide the minority votes”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday mocked the TMC supremo, saying her appeal indicated that the minority community had started drifting away from the Bengal chief minister.
“Didi is publicly asking Muslims to support her and urging them not to divide their votes….. Such remarks indicate that even Muslims who voted her to power have lost confidence in her and have moved away. This indicates that she is losing the elections,” Modi told a poll rally at Rashmela Ground in Cooch Behar.
Modi’s claim assumes significance in the backdrop of Bengal’s demography with over 28 per cent Muslim voters who have been overtly behind the Trinamul Congress since the change of guard in Bengal.
In a separate incident on Monday, the EC had Mamata’s claims of the presence of outsiders in booth 7 of the Boyal Maktab Primary School in Nandigram and intimidation of voters by central force jawans during the poll process on April 1.
The poll panel termed the allegations “factually incorrect, without any empirical evidence whatsoever and devoid of substance”.