The Election Commission has barred Assam BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma from campaigning for 48 hours.

Himanta Biswa Sarma has been barred by the Election Commission for his remarks against BPF leader Hagrama Mohilary.

During the ban period, Himanta Biswa Sarma would not be able to hold any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows, interviews and public utterance in media (electronic, print and social media).

This ban on Himanta Biswa Sarma by the Election Commission has come into immediate effect.

The Election Commission in its notification stated that Himanta Biswa Sarma submitted his reply to the show cause notice, issued earlier, on Friday denying the allegations.

The Election Commission considered the reply submitted by Himanta Biswa Sarma as “not found to be satisfactory”.

“…the Commission hereby strongly condemns the impugned statements made by Sh Himanta Biswa Sarma, BJP leader and star campaigner. The Commission, under Article 324 of the Constitution of India and all other powers enabling in this behalf, bars him from holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows, interviews and public utterance in media (electronic, print and social media) etc. in connection with ongoing elections for 48 hours from immediate effect on 02.04.2021 (Friday),” the Election Commission stated in its notification.

With this ban being imposed, Himanta Biswa Sarma would not be able to campaign for the BJP in the remaining of the Assam Assembly elections.

Also read: Assam Assembly election: Election Commission serves show-cause notice to minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for threatening Hagrama Mohilary

Earlier, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday had issued a show-cause notice to Assam finance minister and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma for allegedly threatening Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) president Hagrama Mohilary.

The show-cause notice was served to Himanta Biswa Sarma, the convenor of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), on the basis of a complaint lodged by the Congress.

The show-cause notice, issued by ECI secretary Ajay Kumar Verma, said the Commission is, prima facie, of the view that Sarma has “violated” the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct, which came into force since February 26, 2021.

The Commission asked minister Sarma to explain his position in making the statement related to Hagrama Mohilary on or before 5 PM of April 2, 2021 “failing which the Commission shall take a decision without any further reference” to him.

According to the Model Code of Conduct imposed by the ECI: “Criticism of other political parties, when made, shall be confined to their policies and programme, past record and work. Parties and candidates shall refrain from criticism of all aspects of private life, not connected with the public activities of the leaders or workers of other parties. Criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified allegations or distortion shall be avoided”.

The ECI show-cause said a Congress delegation submitted a complaint on March 30, 2021, to the Commission, wherein it has been alleged that BJP leader and Cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sarma openly threatened Hagrama Mohilary of sending him to jail by misusing the Central Agency NIA.

The Congress further alleged that by the said threats, Sarma has also attempted to influence the voters to not vote for Congress alliance, including Mohilary’s party.

The party also attached a copy of news clippings published by a media organization on March 29, 2021 to substantiate their allegation.

Here’s the relevant portion of Himanta Biswa Sarma’s statement obtained by the Commission from the Chief Electoral Officer of Assam:

“… If Hagrama does extremism with Batha he will go to jail. This is a straight talk. If Hagrama encourages Batha, he will go to jail. Already got lot of evidence. This case is being given to NIA.  The recovery of arms at Kokrajhar in a car, that case is being given to NIA. Nobody will be allowed to do unrest in BTR, even if he is Hagrama or any one. This will not be tolerated. We are not afraid of Botha. I am making it clear. There will be no bomb in BTR, there will no firearms in BTR. The people of Assam should understand this. And I do not care any Hagrama… Tagrama.  These arms recovery cases will be counted one by one after the election. Leave who is saying what… listen to what Himanta Biswa Sarma is saying. We will not allow to do unrest in Bodoland… this is being enquired by the NIA. I know many things… and in whose investigation they (Batha) are going (to jungle) have not the people of Assam summed up? Those who are living in distress will only make people suffer, will someone who is happy make others unhappy?…”

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