Assam polls: BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma's campaign ban reduced to 24 hours

The Election Commission Of India issuing a order has reduced the period of debarment of Assam Minister and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma from campaigning to 24 hours from 48 hours. The Election Commission had debared Himanta Biswa Sarma, from campaigning for ongoing Assam elections for 48 hours with immediate effect for his remark against Hagrama Mohilary, Bodoland People's Front Chairperson.

"The Commission ... bars him from holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows, interviews and public utterances in media (electronic, print, social media) in connection with ongoing elections for 48 hours from immediate effect on April 02 (Friday)," the order read.

The Congress had approached the EC demanding action against Sarma for his remark that Mohilary would be sent to jail through central probe agency NIA if he does "extremism" with rebel leader M Batha.

"If Hagrama does extremism with Batha he will go to jail. This is a straight talk. If Hagrama encourages Batha, he will go to jail. Already got lot of evidence. This case is being qiven to NIA," according to a portion of Sarma's speech made part of the notice.

Soon after the debar notice, Himanta had said that his remarks for Bodoland People's Front chief Hagrama Mohilary were "not a threat" to misuse the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

In his reply to the EC -- the letter of which he tweeted on Saturday -- Sarma said his remarks meant that the investigation can be handed over to the NIA as the place of occurrence of crime falls near international as well as the inter-state border.

He also justified the mention of Mahilary with relation to the case, saying that an ongoing investigation has proved the connection of Mahilary to the case.

While, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala today had said the EC should also ban Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and JP Nadda from campaigning to ensure free and fair elections in the state.

"EC barring Himanta Biswa Sarma from campaigning for 48 hours proves that BJP has lost polls and is resorting to tactics to influence polls. But, they are not going to get successful in their conspiracy. We urge that though notices have been given to newspaper which ran the advertisements, it should also bar Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Sarbananda Sonowal and JP Nadda too who were shown in ads in Assam's newspapers, for free and fair polls," Surjewala told ANI.

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Free Press Journal