The Election Commission on Friday issued a notice to Trinamool Congress leader Sujata Mondal Khan for her comments on the Scheduled Caste community in the state. The poll panel said it had received a complaint from the Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, after Khan called members of the community “beggars by nature”.
“...as there is scarcity of resources in the schedule caste families, no matter how much, Mamata Bandyopadhyay has helped them, the scarcity will not go,” Mondal said, according to the poll panel’s notice. “As there is a saying, some are actually beggars by nature, the scheduled castes here are beggars by nature, and in spite of Mamata Banerjee helping them so much, still they have been sold to BJP at a petty amount and are now torturing us.”
The BJP had tweeted a video on April 10, in which she is heard making the remarks.
The Election Commission found Khan’s remarks to be violative of the Model Code of Conduct, which comes into effect after the poll dates are announced. She was also found to have violated Section 153A (1) (a) [promoting enmity] and Section 505(2) [public mischief] of the Indian Penal Code. “Now, therefore the Commission gives you an opportunity to explain your stand in making the above said statement and not to suspend your status as Star Campaigner for a few days, within 24 hours of receipt of this notice, failing which the Commission shall take a decision without further reference to you,” the notice said.
The notice to the Trinamool Congress leader came a day before West Bengal voted in the fifth phase. A voter turnout of 16.27% was recorded till 10.30 am on Saturday as 45 seats in six districts went to polls in the Assembly elections. The fifth phase was the largest one in terms of number of seats going to polls.