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Posted at: Apr 21, 2019, 6:35 AM; last updated: Apr 21, 2019, 1:13 PM (IST)

EC notice to Sidhu for warning Muslims about division of votes

EC notice to Sidhu for warning Muslims about division of votes
Navjot Singh Sidhu. PTI file photo

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 21

The Election Commission issued a notice to Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Saturday for his controversial remarks made last week at a rally in Bihar’s Katihar.

He has been given until Sunday to respond and warned that should he fail to reply, the commission would act without further reference to him .

Sidhu, a Congress leader, said while campaigning for veteran Congress leader and former union minister Tariq Anwar that Muslims should vote “en bloc to defeat PM Modi”.

Read EC's notice to Sidhu here 

"Do not consider yourself as being in a minority. You constitute the majority here. You are about 64 per cent. Do not fall into the trap laid down by people like Owaisi (president of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen). They have been propped up by the BJP," Sidhu had said on Monday at a rally held at Barasol, in Balrampur assembly segment falling under the Katihar Lok Sabha seat in Bihar.

The outcry that followed led to a criminal case being registered against him.

If his reply is found unsatisfactory, Sidhu will join a list of leaders who have been taken to task this election season for their controversial speeches. Leaders like Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati, Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Maneka Gandhi, and another BJP leader, Himachal Pradesh’s Satpal Satti, have already faced EC’s reproach and temporary bans on their campaigning. Controversial BJP leader Pragya Thakur, the party’s candidate from Bhopal, has been issued notice for her recent remarks.  

Model Code of Conduct has been in force since the commission announced election schedule on March 10. The code forbids the use of religion and caste for propaganda. 

Section 123 (3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, bars promotion of, or attempt to promote, feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of the citizens of India on grounds of religion, race, caste, community, or language, by a candidate or his agent or any other person.

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