BJP’s Himanta Biswa Sarma barred from campaigning for 48 hours
BJP’s Himanta Biswa Sarma gets 48-hour EC ban from campaigning ahead of final phase of Assam polls
The Election Commission on Friday barred Assam minister and senior BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma from campaigning for 48 hours for alleged distasteful remarks against Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) chief Hagrama Mohilary in an election speech. In a late Friday order, the Election Commission condemned the derogatory remarks made by the Assam minister and BJP’s star campaigner, barring him from holding public rallies, meetings, roadshows, and interviews with effect from April 2.
This development has come days ahead of the third and final phase of the assembly elections in Assam which are due to take place on Tuesday.
The EC notice came in response to a complaint filed by Congress party demanding action against the BJP leader for threatening remarks against BPF’s Hagrama Mohilary. Notably, the Bodoland People’s Front is a Congress party ally in Assam. The poll body had sent a show-cause notice to Sarma on Thursday with a transcript of his March 28 speech.
“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 beinq qiven to NIA,” Sarma had said, as per media reports.
After the 48-hour ban, Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is also BJP’s main poll strategist for the 2021 assembly elections in Assam, will not be allowed to campaign till Sunday evening. Significantly, the election campaigning for the last phase of assembly polls in the state will also conclude on Sunday, as per the EC schedule.
Meanwhile, the BJP leader has cancelled all his electoral activities in view of the EC order.
Hours after barring Himanta Biswa Sarma, the Election Commission also ordered to replace his brother Sushanta Biswa Sarma as the Superintendent of Police of Goalpara district. The EC issued an official communication to Assam’s Chief Electoral Officer ordering the transfer of Sushanta Biswa Sarma from Goalpara to another “suitable post in the State headquarters”. According to the order, IPS officer Veera Venkata Rakesh Reddy will be replacing Sushanta Biswa Sarma as Goalpara’s Superintendent of Police for the time.
The elections for the 126-member Legislative Assembly in Assam are taking place in three phases. In the first phase on March 27, voter turnout was around 76 percent in 30 constituencies, while in the second phase on April 1, 77.2 percent of the electorate cast their vote in 39 constituencies. After the third and final phase on April 6, the counting of votes will take place on May 2.