Wake-up call

A day after the Supreme Court, upset over a series of violations of model code of conduct, pulled up the Election Commission of India, and said it will examine the powers of the poll body, the EC got into action mode, making the same court appreciate it and say, “It seems you have got the powers now. EC has woken up now.” The commission on Monday barred Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from campaigning for 72 hours and Mayawati, for 48 hours starting 16 April. Gag orders were also imposed on BJP leader Maneka Gandhi and SP’s Azam Khan.

The EC’s ban order came hours after the apex court told the commission that it could not drag its feet and had to act promptly against poll code violations. The court gave the poll panel time till Tuesday to report on the action taken against the two prominent politicians for their controversial speeches. At a recent meeting in Deoband, Mayawati had warned the Muslim community not to “split votes” between the Congress and her alliance. Appealing to caste or communal feelings to secure votes is banned under the model code.

And, Yogi had said at a rally, “If the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the BSP have faith in Ali, then we too have faith in Bajrang Bali.” While Ali is revered by Muslims as Prophet Mohammad’s successor, Bajrang Bali is another name for Lord Hanuman. Following Opposition allegations that it is soft on leaders of the ruling party violating the election code, the EC took action on the UP CM, too. With its actions reaching a high in Tamilnadu, too, where Vellore election was cancelled, DMK leader Kanimozhi’s house was raided and AMMK men were prevented from distributing money to voters in Andipatti, all in one day, people look forward to free and fair polling tomorrow.

NT Bureau