The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday banned senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan from campaigning for 48 hours for his provocative remarks against poll authorities in Uttar Pradesh.
This is the second time this month that the poll panel has banned Azam from election campaigning. The fresh ban will come into force at 6.00 AM Wednesday.
"The Commission observes that Sh. Azam Khan has made highly provocative speeches in his public utterances against the district election machinery and also on the religious lines, that have the propensity to polarize the elections, which is not confined to the constituency only where the statement is made, but to the other parts as well due to fast dissemination of information in this digital age," the EC said in its order.
"The Commission, based on the material facts and evidences, is convinced that Sh Azam Khan in his impugned speeches has appealed to secure votes on religious lines that tantamount to violation of 'General Conduct' of 'Model Code of Conduct'," it added.
Earlier this month, the EC had banned Azam Khan from campaigning for 72 hours for his below-the-belt remark against actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada, the BJP candidate from Rampur.
"I brought her (Jaya Prada) to Rampur. You are a witness that I did not allow anyone to touch her body. It took you 17 years to identify her real face but I got to know in 17 days that she wears khaki underwear," Azam Khan had said.
While addressing a rally after the ban, Khan had got emotional and had alleged that he was being treated as an anti-national and a terrorist. "The three-day ban by Election Commission just ahead of the elections implies what they want to do. During the ban I cannot go anywhere, I cannot meet anyone, nor participate in rallies and public addresses," he had said.