The Election Commission on Tuesday issued a showcause notice asking Bharatiya Janata Party MP Sakshi Maharaj to respond to allegations about his “hate-inciting” speech in Meerut by January 11, PTI reported. On January 6, the Unnao MP had said people “with four wives and 40 children are responsible for population explosion in the country”.

The poll panel has asked the right-wing leader why he should not be penalised for his statements. The EC’s notice was issued after a complaint filed by the Congress against the BJP leader. The commission said the MP had violated the poll code of conduct that was imposed on January 4 as well as a Supreme Court verdict that prohibits the use of religion to influence voters. The EC has also cited a police case filed against the legislator that alleges the Meerut speech can create a communal rift in the region.