The Election Commission (EC) Friday banned Assam Minister and senior BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma from campaigning for 48 hours in Assam ahead of the third and final phase of the Assembly elections. He was penalised for his remark against Bodoland People’s Front Chairperson Hagrama Mohilary.
The EC imposed the ban with immediate effect, which means that Sarma, a star campaigner for the BJP, can no longer seek votes for his party in the state. Campaigning in Assam ends on April 4.
The decision was taken on a complaint filed by the Congress, which had alleged that Sarma had “openly threatened” to send Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) chief Hagrama Mohilary to jail by “misusing” the National Investigation Agency. BPF is part of the Congress-led alliance.
In his speech at a rally held on March 28, Sarma had said, “If Hagrama Mohilary does extremism with Batha he will go to jail. This is a straight talk… Already got a lot of evidence. This case is being given to NIA (National
Investigation Agency)… And I do not care any Hagarama .. Tagrama. These arms recovery cases will be counted one by one after the election.”
The EC had issued the BJP leader a notice this week asking him to present his defense against the complaint. His reply, the EC said in its order, was found to be unsatisfactory.
“The Commission hereby strongly condemns the impugned statements made by Himanta Biswa Sarma… The Commission … bars him from holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, roadshows, interviews and public utterances in media (electronic, print, social media) in connection with ongoing elections for 48 hours from an immediate effect on April 02 (Friday),” the Election Commission said in its order.