The Election Commission on Monday ordered Union Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party’s Begusarai candidate Giriraj Singh to clarify his comment that the country will never forgive those who do not chant Vande Mataram.

The Election Commission said it has prime facie found Singh guilty of violating the Model Code of Conduct under way during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. The poll panel has given Singh 24 hours to submit his reply to the notice about the comment he made on April 24.

On April 25, the Begusarai district administration in Bihar had booked Singh for violating the Model Code of Conduct with his comment against Muslims. “Those who cannot say Vande Mataram or cannot respect the motherland, the nation will never forgive them,” Singh had allegedly said last week. “My ancestors died at the Simaria ghat and no grave was built for them but you [Muslims] need three hand spans of space.”

Singh’s comments were an apparent jibe at the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Darbhanga candidate Abdul Bari Siddiqui, who reportedly refused to say “Vande Mataram”. He had made the controversial comment during a rally at the GD College, in the presence of BJP President Amit Shah.

Earlier that week, Singh had demanded that the Election Commission ban the colour green in political party flags while claiming that they resembled Pakistan’s flag.