Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], April 16 (ANI): The Election Commission (EC) on Friday issued a notice to Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Sujata Mondal Khan for making "disparaging remarks" against the Scheduled Caste (SC) community.
The Commission has asked the TMC leader to explain her stand in making the above statement and not to suspend her status as a star Campaigner for a few days within 24 hours, failing which it "shall make a decision without further reference to you".
The Commission had received the complaint from a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) delegation led by Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi who said that Khan had made the remarks while giving an interview to a news channel.
The TMC leader had said: "...As there is a scarcity of resources in the Scheduled Caste families, no matter how much Mamata Bandyopadhyay has helped them, the scarcity will not go. As there is a saying, some are actually beggars and others are beggars by nature. The Scheduled Castes here are beggars by nature, and in spite of Mamata Banyopahdyay helping them so much, still, they have been sold to BJP at a petty amount and are now torturing us."
"Today my vehicle's glass was damaged and they were after me with lathis, guns, bombs, etc to kill me and I can clearly make out that they are BJP supporters. They have been supported and sheltered by BJP. I'll inform the ECI definitely and today if named (a) thing, (it) would have been neutral, then I think this kind of torture/harassment would have not been possible on any candidate or his vehicle...," she added.
The EC said that the statement made by Khan "has been examined in the Commission and the same has been found to be in violation of the clause (1) of Part I of 'General Conduct of Model Code of Conduct for the guidance of political parties and candidates' and Section 153 (1) (a) and Section 505 (2) of the Indian Penal Code".
Several BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have repeatedly lashed out at the TMC for Khan's remarks.
This comes ahead of the fifth phase of the West Bengal assembly elections, which will be held on Saturday.
A total of 45 constituencies across six districts - Jalpaiguri, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Nadia, North 24 Parganas and Purba Bardhaman -- will go to polls.
As many as 319 candidates, including 39 women, are in the fray in this phase of the West Bengal assembly elections. Several Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) troops have been deployed in the participating constituencies.
The first four phases were held on March 27, April 1, April 6 and April 10 respectively. The counting of votes will take place on May 2. (ANI)