Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Election 2019: Election Commission Bars Navjot Sidhu From Campaigning Over Communal Remarks

The Election Commission on Monday, 22 April, censured Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu for his communal remarks and barred him from campaigning for 72 hours, with effect from 10 am on 23 April, reported PTI.

The poll body issued the notice over violation of Model Code of Conduct by the Punjab minister and barred Sidhu from holding any public meeting, road show, public rally and interviews in connection with the ongoing elections.

The EC’s directive comes after Sidhu stoked controversy by urging Muslim voters of a Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar – with a sizeable population of the minority community – to vote en bloc and defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"Do not consider yourself as being in minority. You constitute the majority here. You are about 64 percent. Do not fall into the trap laid down by people like Owaisi (president of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen). They have been propped up by the BJP," Sidhu had said on Monday, 15 April, at a rally held at Barasol, in Balrampur Assembly segment falling under Katihar Lok Sabha seat in Bihar.

"Recognise your strength and vote en bloc to defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he said.

The comments by the former test cricketer at a rally in Katihar, where he was canvassing in support of veteran Congress leader and former union minister Tariq Anwar, drew an angry response from the BJP, which condemned the "reprehensible act", and urged the Election Commission to take "suo motu cognisance" and act on the matter.

A case was registered against the Congress leader on charges of violating the Model Code of Conduct.

(With inputs from PTI and ANI.)