EC Bars BJP’s Abhijit Gangopadhyay From Campaigning For 24 Hours

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The Election Commission on Tuesday censured Abhijit Gangopadhyay, former Calcutta High Court judge and BJP candidate from Tamluk Lok Sabha seat, for his controversial comment on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and debarred him from campaigning for 24 hours.

In the order, the poll panel asked BJP president JP Nadda to issue an advisory on behalf of the party to all candidates and campaigners to make sure that this lapse does not recur during the campaign period.

Abhijit Gangopadhyay joined the BJP on March 7 days after resigning as a judge of the Calcutta High Court. 

ALSO READ | TMC Writes To EC Against BJP’s Abhijit Gangopadhyay Over ‘What’s Your Price’ Remark Against Bengal CM Mamata

The ECI described Gangopadhyay’s remark as a low-level personal attack and said he violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).   

“This, the Commission hereby strongly censures Abhijit Gangopadhyay for the above-said misconduct and debars him from campaigning for 24 hours starting from 17.00 hrs of 21st May, 2024,” the EC statement said. 

The EC also warned Abhijit Gangopadhyay to remain careful in his public utterances during the Model Code of Conduct.

Referring to Gangopadhyay’s comments on Banerjee, the EC also painfully notes the fact that such abominable words have come from someone of Gangopadhyay’s educational and professional background and hence does not remotely deserve any benefit of doubt.

“The commission has carefully gone through the contents and averments made in the aforesaid reply of Abhijit Gangopadhyay and has again gone through the statement made and is convinced that he has made a low-level personal attack and thus violated the provisions of the MCC,” the statement said.

The EC said that according to a clause, political leaders’ criticism of other parties should be confined to their policies and programme, past record and work and shall refrain from criticism of all aspects of private life, not connected with the public activities of the leaders or workers of other parties. 

The EC statement comes after a complaint by the Trinamool Congress against Gangopadhyay for his remarks against Banerjee while addressing a public meeting held on May 15 in Haldia.

Responding to EC’s directive, BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said the party accepts the decision, but also questioned why the poll panel did not take any step when the PM and other BJP leaders were verbally attacked by opposition leaders.  

“I will tell the ECI to keep their eyes and ears open… The way the ECI has kept mum in those cases, I think the ECI must consult an ENT specialist… The AIIMS, New Delhi is not far away (from its office),” Bhattacharya said.

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