The Election Commission on Saturday issued a show-cause notice to Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu for his remarks wherein he asked Muslims to vote Congress to defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The poll panel asked the Punjab minister to reply within 24 hours. During an election rally in Bihar’s Katihar on April 16, Sidhu urged Muslims to vote unitedly to ensure the defeat of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
An FIR was lodged against Sidhu recently in the Katihar district of Bihar for making the remarks at an election rally there. At the rally in Katihar, he claimed that the BJP is trying to divide the Muslims. “You are in a 64% majority here,” he told the audience. “I have come to warn you, that these people [BJP] are trying to divide you. By bringing in a person like [All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin] Owaisi here, by introducing a new party here, they want to win the polls. If you get united – the minority is in a majority here – and vote together, Modi will be defeated. You will hit a six. Hit such a sixer that Modi lands outside the boundary.”
The poll panel said prima facie Sidhu violated the model code of conduct in place for the Lok Sabha polls, and also a Supreme Court direction barring the use of religious references for political propaganda. The poll body asked Sidhu to respond to its notice within 24 hours, failing which the Election Commission will take a decision without further reference to him.