Varanasi: BJP chief Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath review the preparations ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's filing of nomination on April 26, in Varanasi on April 12, 2019. A day before filing nomination, the Prime

New Delhi, April 15 : The ban on Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from campaigning in the Lok Sabha elections for 3 days over hate speeches is not the first punitive action by the Election Commission (EC) against erring politicians.

During the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the poll panel had banned Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Amit Shah and Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Azam Khan from holding public meetings or road shows in UP. The EC had also asked authorities to initiate criminal proceedings against them.

The action against Shah in connection with his speech at a rally in riot-hit Muzaffarnagar where he called for "revenge". "You have been treated as second-grade citizens. It is time for revenge now. Batons, guns and swords belong to a bygone era. These days you take revenge by pressing the button," he said.

The action against Khan was taken over his remark that "No Hindu soldier died in the 1999 Kargil war, which was won by Muslim soldiers".

As in the case of Mayawati and Adityanath, the action against Shah and Khan was taken under Article 324, which gives the EC wide powers to ensure free and fair elections.

But Monday's action against Mayawati and Adityanath came after the Supreme Court pulled up the poll panel for blatant violation of the model code of conduct.

Welcoming the EC action, constitution expert P.D.T. Achary said it might have come under pressure, realising that the Supreme Court would take harsh view of things on Tuesday, when the case is listed for consideration.

"The EC always had teeth, but unless it showed them no one would fear it. It is a good beginning to set right the wrongs," he told IANS. Given the gravity of the offence, the EC could have barred the two leaders for campaigning from the entire election, he said.

"But this is a signal, just a beginning. It would act as deterrent for others by sending a message that the poll panel can take the most stringent action, if needed, and can even bar violators from campaigning for the whole election," he said.

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