EC reduces Himanta Sarma’s campaign ban to 24 hrs

The Election Commission in a fresh order on Saturday gave relief to BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma by reducing his ban from campaigning to 24 hours.

The commission’s order came following Sarma’s request to the poll body, mentioning “accept my sincere regret and assurance of abiding MCC (Model Code of Conduct) in future, and be further pleased to reduce the period of debarment from election campaign from 48 hours to 24 hours”.

Sarma had also pleaded on the ground that he is himself a candidate in the constituency which is scheduled for poll on April 6. The BJP leader is contesting from Jalukbari Assembly constituency.

“The commission, having considered your unconditional apology and assurance, has decided to modify its order dated April 2, 2021 and reduce the period of debarment from the election campaign from 48 hours to 24 hours to the effect that permission may be granted for holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows, etc., by the concerned district administration authorities, where you (Himanta Biswa Sarma) are expected or likely to participate,” the EC said.

“You are directed to ensure compliance of the commissioner’s directions.”

The poll panel on Friday had barred Sarma from campaigning for 48 hours on charges of threatening opposition leader Hagrama Mohilary of the Bodoland People’s Front.

The EC, in its Friday order had barred Sarma from addressing any public meetings, road shows, media interviews, public processions, and public rallies, for 48 hours from immediate effect from April 2.

The poll panel’s action came in the wake of the complaint filed by the Congress on March 30, alleging that Sarma had openly threatened to send Mohilary to jail by misusing the National Investigation Agency (NIA).Noting “prima facie violation” of provisions of the Model Code of conduct by Sarma, the EC had directed the BJP leader to submit his explanations on the allegations by 5 p.m. on Friday.

The Congress and the Bodoland People’s Front are alliance partners in Assam.