The Election Commission of India (ECI), on Thursday, barred DMK’s Deputy Secretary and Member of Parliament A Raja from campaigning for the party for 48 hours with immediate effect. The Commission has reprimanded Raja for his comments against Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and also removed his name from DMK's list of star campaigners.
The ban comes at a time when election campaigning in Tamil Nadu ends on April 4, as per the ECI norms. The ECI took the decision to ban A Raja after considering his written response filed to the Commission on a report sent by the Chief Electoral Officer of Tamil Nadu Satyabrata Sahoo.
“The Election Commission of India debars you from campaigning for 48 hours with immediate effect, reprimands you for violation of model code of conduct and delists your name from the list of star campaigner of DMK,” the EC notice says.
“The Commission also advises you to be watchful and not to make intemperate, indecent, derogatory, obscene remarks and lower the dignity of women in future during the election campaign.”
The action by ECI was taken based on A Raja’s comment at Thousand Lights constituency last week. While comparing DMK President MK Stalin and Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami’s political career, he said, "Stalin is a child of good relationship and good birth while Edapadi Palaniswamy is a child of bad relationship and a premature born child". The ECI also referred to Raja’s speeches made on two different occasions to justify its decision to impose a ban on him.
Earlier, the ECI had sent A Raja a notice, stating that the Commission had found the contents of his speech “derogatory but also obscene” and that they “lower the dignity of motherhood of women.” The EC had said that this was a serious violation of the provisions of Model Code of Conduct.
The Election Commission also quoted the Model Code of Conduct and said,"Criticism of other political parties, when made, shall be confined to their policies and programme, past record and work. Parties and Candidates shall refrain from criticism of all aspects of private life, not connected with the public activities of the leaders or workers of other parties. Criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified allegations or distortion shall be avoided."
In his response to the Election Commission notice, A Raja had said that his speech was taken out of context. He said that AIADMK and BJP had “falsely propagated” that he insulted Palaniswami. He also said in his explanation to the notice that he had “not spoken anything that is violative of the Model Code of Conduct, which is obscene or which will lower the dignity of mother or women, much less any other provision of law."
He had denied making any “derogatory or defamatory speeches” against the Chief Minister. He also denied that he made any speech that would “demean or defame women or motherhood.”