Dilip Ghosh
Dilip Ghosh
File Photo

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has on Thursday banned BJP West Bengal chief Dilip Ghosh from campaigning for 24 hours starting 7 pm on Thursday, April 15 to 7 pm on Friday, April 16 over his "provocative" remarks in connection with the Cooch Behar violence.

The ECI noted that Ghosh made "highly provocative and inciteful remarks which could adversely impact law and order thereby adversely affecting the election process".

"The Commission hereby sternly warns Dilip Ghosh and advises him to desist from using such statement while making public utterances during the period when Model Code of Conduct is in force and imposes a ban of 24 hours from 7 pm on 15th April 2021 to 7 pm on 16th April 2021 during which he shall not be allowed to campaign," the notice said.

Referring to the killing of four people in firing by CISF during poll violence in Cooch Behar district, Ghosh had said that there will be "Sitalkuchi-like incidents" in several places if "bad boys" do not behave in the coming election phases.

"From where have the ‘dustu chele’ (bad boys) come? The ones who received bullets in Cooch Behar’s Sitalkuchi. These bad boys will not remain in Bengal. This is only the beginning. Those who think that the CISF carry guns just for show are mistaken. If anyone takes law into his own hands, he will receive a befitting reply. Central forces will be deployed in booths and no one will be allowed to threaten them. If things go out of hand, there will be more Sitalkuchi-like incidents in many places. So beware,” Ghosh had said at a public meeting at Baranagar in North 24 Parganas district.

Earlier, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was also also banned for 24 hours. She was accused of breaking the law with her comments on Muslim votes and for allegedly urging voters to revolt against central security forces.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday has dismissed speculations that the final four phases of the ongoing Assembly elections in West Bengal could be clubbed due to the massive rise in daily COVID-19 cases. "No such plan of clubbing phases," said the ECI.

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