The Election Commission has barred, an Assam minister and a senior BJP leader, Himanta Biswa Sarma for campaigning that include holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, roadshows, interviews, and public utterances in media (electronic, print, social media) for 48 hours over his alleged threat to the chairperson of Bodoland People’s Front, a Congress alliance partner in the state. EC secretary Ajay Kumar Varma has issued the notice, based on a complaint lodged by the Congress on, 30th March in which it alleged that Sarma had “openly threatened” to send Mohilary to jail by misusing National Investigation Agency (NIA). Ajay Kumar Varma states Sarma has prima facie violated the model code of conduct for candidates and political parties, in place of the ongoing assembly election. The Congress had further alleged that Sarma, with his threats, had also attempted to influence the public not to vote for the alliance. Himanta Sarma states that his comments for Hagrama Mohilary were not a threat. Sarma, in his defense, interprets his own saying, says that the investigation can be handed over to the NIA as the place of occurrence of crime falls near international and the inter-state border and to justify his saying he adds that, an ongoing investigation has proved Mohilari’s connection with the case. ANI reports, Congress leader, Randeep Singh Surjewala, said that PM Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, and JP Nadda should also be banned, to ensure free and fair elections.

Sarma had pleaded to reduce the ban because he is himself a candidate in the constituency which is scheduled to go for polls on April 6 and stated his regret over what he said, made reparations, and assured to abide by MCC (Model Code of Conduct) in the future. According to the latest reports, the EC has accepted the sincere apology and has reduced the period of debarment from 48 hours to 24 hours.

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