The Election Commission on Tuesday issued a notice to Minister of State for Finance and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Anurag Thakur for allegedly using inflammatory slogans during a rally in Delhi, Hindustan Times reported. Earlier in the day, the office of Delhi’s Chief Electoral Officer had asked for a report from the North West Delhi district’s poll official.
Thakur was given time to respond to the notice till 12 pm on January 30, reported News18.
Addressing a rally in support of Manish Chaudhary, the BJP candidate for the Delhi Assembly elections from Rithala, Thakur was heard shouting “desh ke gaddaron ko” and the crowd responded with “goli maaro saalon ko”. The slogan meant “shoot the traitors”, with an expletive used for “traitors” – a reference to those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Earlier in the day, the junior minister had justified his statements saying: “First you should watch the entire video...Then you should see the mood of the people of Delhi.” Thakur told The Indian Express that he was merely asking what should be done with traitors to the country. “It could have evoked a response like ‘vote them out’ or ‘throw them out’. But it was the people who reacted so,” he said.
The Delhi CEO’s office had on Tuesday submitted reports on the violations to the Election Commission. “The Office of the Delhi CEO has submitted its report to the EC, on the suspected violation of Model Code of Conduct by Anurag Thakur, MP and BJP’s star campaigner, for using provocative slogans,” an unidentified senior officer told PTI. “A report has also been sent in connection with another star campaigner of BJP for Delhi elections, Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma, regarding Shaheen Bagh protests and his tweet regarding religious places.”
Verma, also a BJP MP, had declared on Tuesday that “lakhs of protestors” gathering in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh locality to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act will enter people’s homes to “rape their sisters and daughters and kill them”. He asked voters to think hard about which party they choose in the upcoming election. The Election Commission also sought a response from him.
Hundreds of women, along with children, have been peacefully protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens at Shaheen Bagh for almost a month and a half. The law has been widely criticised as discriminatory and Indian Muslims fear it could be used with the NRC to harass and disenfranchise them.