EC seems to have torn the page of impartiality: Priyanka

Assam: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra addresses an election rally in Jorhat in Assam.

New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday slammed the Election Commission for reducing the ban on BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma to 24 hours and said Commission’s move suggests it has torn the page of “impartiality” from its rule book.

In a tweet in Hindi, Priyanka Gandhi said, “While we were waiting for the strict action for the EVM, which was found in the car of a BJP leader from the Election Commission, its another move suggests that it has torn the page of impartiality from its book. After all, under pressure from which leader did the ban on BJP leader, who threatened a candidate, has been reduced from 48 hours to 24 hours?”

Her remarks came soon after the Election Commission on Saturday in a fresh order gave relief to Sarma by reducing his ban from campaigning in Assam assembly polls to 24 hours.

The EC in its order said, “The commission, having considered your unconditional apology and assurance, has decided to modify its order dated April 2, 2021 and reduce the period of debarment from the election campaign from 48 hours to 24 hours to the effect that permission may be granted for holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows, etc., by the concerned district administration authorities, where you (Himanta Biswa Sarma) are expected or likely to participate.”

“You are directed to ensure compliance of the commissioner’s directions.”

The poll panel on Friday had barred Sarma, who is contesting from Jalukbari Assembly constituency, from campaigning for 48 hours on charges of threatening opposition leader Hagrama Mohilary of the Bodoland People’s Front.

The EC, in its Friday order had barred Sarma from addressing any public meetings, road shows, media interviews, public processions, and public rallies, for 48 hours from immediate effect from April 2.

The poll panel’s action came in the wake of the complaint filed by the Congress on March 30, alleging that Sarma had openly threatened to send Mohilary to jail by misusing the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Noting “prima facie violation” of provisions of the Model Code of conduct by Sarma, the EC had directed the BJP leader to submit his explanations on the allegations by 5 p.m. on Friday.

The Congress and the Bodoland People’s Front are alliance partners in Assam.

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