New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) has barred Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Azam Khan from campaigning for 72 hours starting 10 a.m on Wednesday for making objectionable comments during the the ongoing election campaign.
Restrictions were imposed on Khan after he was found guilty of violating the Model Code of Conduct by making objectionable remarks against actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada, who is contesting against him in Rampur on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket.
He has been barred from holding public meetings, processions, rallies, road shows and interviews, and making public utterances in the media for three days.
The poll panel in a notice issued on Tuesday said that as per the "General Conduct" section of the "Model Code of Conduct for the Guidance of Political Parties and Candidates", parties and candidates shall refrain from criticism of all aspects of private life, not connected with public activities of the leaders or workers of other parties. Also, criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified allegations or distortion shall be avoided.
Azam Khan had also been censured before the 2014 general elections.
The EC in the notice said: "...the Commission is prima facie of the opinion that you have violated the aforesaid provisions of the MCC, the relevant sections of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and also wilfully disobeyed the aforesaid order of the Hon'ble Supreme Court by making the highly objectionable and provocative aforesaid statements."
On Monday, the poll panel had also barred Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and BSP chief Mayawati from campaigning for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections for varying durations. While Yogi Adityanath was barred for 72 hours for calling Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) a "virus", Mayawati was barred for 48 hours for asking Muslims to vote for their coalition in Uttar Pradesh and "not split votes between the BSP and the Congress".
The EC has sought Khan's explanation within 24 hours of the receipt of the notice.