New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) The Election Commission on Wednesday issued a show cause notice to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, directing her to submit a written clarification explaining her open demand for votes on communal grounds for her party Trinamool Congress in the ongoing Assembly elections in the state.
In its order, the poll panel asked Banerjee to submit her explanation within 48 hours of receipt of the notice, failing which the “commission shall take a decision without further reference to you”.
The commission’s action came after BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi complained to the election body alleging that Banerjee — the Trinamool candidate from Nandigram — had on April 3 appealed to the Muslim voters not to let their votes get split among different political parties, while delivering a speech in Tarkeshwar in Hooghly district that was telecast live on ABP Ananda. The BJP alleged that she openly demanded votes on communal grounds for her party.
An authenticated transcript of the alleged speech has also been received from the Chief Electoral Officer of West Bengal, the commission said, adding that the relevant part of the speech said, “…Kanyashree Kanyashree, there are scholarships up to the university. There is Sikshashree for Scheduled Castes and Sheduled Tribes. For general category there is Swami Vivekananda Scholarship. There is Aikyashree for my brothers and sisters belonging to the minority community and I have given it to 2 crore and 35 lakh beneficiaries.”
“I am requesting my minority brothers and sisters with folded hands, don’t divide the minority votes after listening to the devil person who had taken money from the BJP. He passes many communal statements and initiates clashes between the Hindus and the Muslims. He is one of the apostles of the BJP, comrade. The comrades of CPM and BJP are roaming around with the money given by the BJP to divide the minority votes,” she had said.
The commission said that the statement made by Banerjee on April 3 has been examined and the same has been found to be in violation of the provisions contained in Section 123 (3), 3 (A) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and also Clauses (2), (3) and (4) of Part I of General Conduct of Model Code of Conduct for the guidance of political parties and candidates.
Elections for the 294-member Bengal Assembly are being conducted in eight phases. While the first three phases have been completed, the remaining five phases will be held on April 10, April 17, April 22, April 26 and April 29. The results will be declared on May 2.