The Election Commission on Monday censured Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu for violating the Model Code of Conduct in their statements against each other.

The Model Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines issued by the poll body that political parties have to follow while campaigning.

The poll body said that Reddy and Naidu had repeatedly violated provisions of the code by using derogatory remarks against each other during election rallies in the past several days.

According to the notice issued on Monday to Reddy, the Election Commission cited five different statements made by him at rallies between April 2 and April 4. The chief minister had called Naidu a “habitual offender”, “murderer” and “sadist”, among other terms.

The poll body said it had received a complaint on April 5 from the Telugu Desam Party about his remarks against Naidu.

On April 7, a show-cause notice was issued to Reddy, which he replied to two days later. However, the Election Commission said that Reddy had “nowhere in his reply denied using the statements/words against Naidu” mentioned in the complaint.

It further cited another complaint against him received on April 19 in connection with his remarks about Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan during a campaign on April 16.

Reddy violated provisions of the Model Code of Conduct regarding personal attacks and unverified allegations, the poll body said. The chief minister had also violated another advisory issued to parties on March 1 against making false statements while campaigning.

On the other hand, the Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party filed a complaint on April 1 against Naidu regarding his statement about Reddy at a rally on March 31.

The Election Commission, in its notice to Naidu on Monday, cited seven other instances where the Telugu Desam Party chief’s speeches violated the code. He had used terms such as “venom spewing”, “mayala fakir [referring to a character in a film], “fake fellow”, among others, to describe Reddy.

Naidu had also received a show-cause notice from the poll body on April 3. In his reply on April 6, he too did not deny making the statements against the chief minister.

“Repeated violations of the MCC [Model Code of Conduct] provisions and ECI’s [Election Commission of India’s] guidelines and advisories by Naidu showcases blatant attempt on the part of Naidu to undermine the electoral process and disturb the level-playing field by degrading the level of political campaign in the ongoing elections in Andhra Pradesh,” the order said.

The poll body directed both leaders to “remain careful during public utterances”. “The [Election] Commission expects that all political leaders follow the provisions of the MCC in letter and spirit, setting up an example for the political discourse,” it said.

Polling for the 175-member Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh will be conducted on May 13. Votes will be counted on June 4.