West Bengal Assembly elections | EC notice to BJP leader Dilip Ghosh over Sitalkuchi comments

Election Commission also banned BJP leader Rahul Sinha from campaigning for 48 hours for his statement on the Sitalkuchi firing incident

The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday issued a notice to West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh for violating provisions of the Model Code of Conduct and Indian Penal Code for making an “inflammatory statement” threatening the people of Bengal during a public rally in Barangar, North 24 Parganas.

The EC said it had received a complaint from All-India Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien about the speech that was “an open threat” to Bengal and its people. Referring to the Central forces firing on a mob on polling day on April 10 in Sitalkuchi, in which four people were killed, Mr. Ghosh said the incident would be the start.

“Where did so many naughty boys come from? Those naughty boys were shot at yesterday in Sitalkuchi. These naughty boys will not be there in Bengal. This is just the beginning. Those who thought that the Central forces ‘ rifles were meant to be just for show have well understood now the power of cartridges. And this will be carried on throughout Bengal,” Mr. Ghosh was quoted as saying in the EC notice.

Speaking of the fifth round of voting in the Bengal elections, Mr. Ghosh said: “Those who will take the law in their own hands will be given a befitting answer. I hope that you all will queue up to cast your votes in the morning on 1 7 April. Central forces will be there in the booths. No one can show you an angry eye. Because we are here. And if someone crosses his limits then you have seen what happened in Sitalkuchi. There will be Sitalkuchi in several places. So be careful.”

Finding the statement to be in violation of the MCC, the IPC and Representation of the People Act, 1951, the EC said Mr. Ghosh’s speech was “provocative and can seriously incite the emotions and lead to breakdown of law and order thereby adversely affecting the election process.”

Issuing notice, the EC asked Mr. Ghosh to explain his stand by 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

In another notice to BJP West Bengal leader Rahul Sinha, the EC said his speech on Monday saying that the Central forces should have killed eight, not four people, during the Sitalkuchi incident was a violation of the MCC, RP Act and IPC.

Condemning the statement, the EC imposed a 48-hour campaigning ban on him, saying: “Commission decided to issue this order without giving any notice to Rahul Sinha, BJP, due to urgency of the matter.”

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