Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday stoked controversy by urging Muslim voters of a Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar to vote en bloc and defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Punjab minister made the remarks while addressing an election rally in Katihar where he was canvassing for Congress candidate Tariq Anwar. “You comprise 64% of the total population in the constituency. If you get united, you can uproot Modi from Delhi,” he said.
Sidhu’s comments drew an angry response from BJP which urged the Election Commission to take “suo motu cognisance” of the “reprehensible act”.
It is in the Congress’ DNA to divide the people. The party might have once played a role in the freedom movement but now it is known for encouraging ‘tukde tukde gang’ and is seeking evidence of the valour of soldiers,” said BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Terming religion a very private relationship between man and his God, a seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court, in a majority judgment on January 2, 2017, had held that an appeal for votes during elections on the basis of religion, caste, race, community or language, even that of the electorate, will amount to a ‘corrupt practice’ and call for disqualification of the candidate.
The apex court had on April 8 issued a notice to the EC on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking strict action against political parties if their spokespersons and representatives deliver speeches or make remarks in the media pertaining to religion or caste.
Opposition leaders in Katihar have sent videotapes of Sidhu’s speech to the EC.
Apr 16, 2019 17:43 IST
Lok Sabha elections 2019: Navjot Sidhu appeals to Muslims to vote for Congress to defeat PM Modi – Hindustan Times