Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited a Hanuman temple in state capital Lucknow after the Election Commission’s 72-hour gag order came into effect. With folded hands and silent prayer, Yogi was seen worshipping inside the temple. Yesterday, the Election Commission had barred Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister from Lok Sabha poll campaigning for next 72 hours. The development comes after the Supreme Court rebuked the poll panel for ‘having limited power to act against such leaders’ A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had asked the representative of Election Commission to appear before it today. The poll panel barred the UP Chief Minister from holding public meetings, road shows and giving media interviews for 72 hours starting from 6 am on April 16.
“He (Yogi Adiyanath) being the CM of a state has an added responsibility to not only uphold the basic tenets, including secularism,of the Constitution, but also to display the same in his public appearances/speeches,” the poll panel had said in its notice against UP Chief Minister. Last week, on Thursday the poll panel had issued a show cause notice to Yogi Adityanath for his "Ali" and "Bajrang Bali" remarks while addressing a rally in Meerut. Finding him prima facie guilty of violating the model code of conduct, the commission asked him to respond by Friday evening. Adityanath had compared the Lok Sabha elections to a contest between 'Ali', a revered figure in Islam, and Bajrang Bali, the Hindu god Hanuman.
"Agar Congress, SP, BSP ko 'Ali' par vishwaas hai toh humein bhi 'Bajrang Bali' par vishwaas hai (If the Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party have faith in Ali, we have faith in Hanuman)," the UP CM had said. His statement came while referring to BSP chief Mayawati's speech at a rally in Deoband, where she urged Muslims to back the alliance.
The gag order is a first for the poll panel in this General Elections. Last time during 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, the poll panel had issued gag order against BJP chief Amit Shah and Samajwadi Party’s Azam Khan. They were banned from campaigning for the remaining duration of the election after they failed to stick to the model code of conduct.