BSP chief Mayawati was banned from campaigning by EC for 48hours

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NEW DELHI: A plea by Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati that challenged a ban on her from campaigning for 48 hours by the Election Commission was turned down by the Supreme Court today. "It seems the Election Commission has woken up by our orders and barred various politicians from campaigning for varying timing. This makes it clear no further orders are required now," Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said.At a recent meeting in Deoband, Mayawati had warned the Muslim community not to "split votes" between the Congress and her alliance. Appealing to caste or communal feelings to secure votes is a no-no under the model code, which is a series of dos and don'ts for political parties ahead of elections.

The Election Commission on Monday also barred Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from campaigning for three days for his communal comments. Responding to Mayawati, he had said, "If the Congress, the SP and the BSP have faith in Ali, then we too have faith in Bajrang Bali". While Ali is revered by Muslims as Prophet Mohammad's successor, Bajrang Bali is another name for Lord Hanuman.

The poll body recently faced opposition allegations that it was soft on leaders of the ruling party violating the election code.

Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan has been barred from campaigning for three days for his "indecent and derogatory" comment against Jaya Prada. Union minister Maneka Gandhi has been barred from campaigning for 48 hours for communal comments, the EC said

The EC's action this time came on a day the Supreme Court pulled it up for failing to take action in cases of code violation, and questioning if it was even aware of its powers to force errant political leaders to fall in line.

Asked about the opposition criticism during an interview on Monday, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora told NDTV that while there are options like barring the candidate from the polling process, "I don't think sending an advisory to a person who is a Chief Minister of biggest state, that too in black and white - that is a slap on the wrist".

On Monday, the Supreme Court - which was hearing an appeal seeking action against political parties using use religion and caste to seek votes - was extremely upset when the Election Commission's representative said, "We don't have any powers. We can't bar them from contesting. We can de-recognise them".
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