The Election Commission (EC) on Friday (April 2) barred Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, from campaigning for 48 hours following his speech in which he threatened the Bodoland People’s Front chief Hagrama Mohilary of sending him to jail with the help of the National Investigation Agency.
The EC condemned the statement and said that it was a violation of Model Code of Conduct.
It was only a couple of days back that the EC had imposed a similar restriction on former Union minister and DMK MP from Tamil Nadu, A Raja, after he cast aspersions on the parents of the state chief minister, E Palaniswami. His remarks evoked widespread criticism by AIADMK, which on March 28 asked the EC to ban Raja from campaigning.
Incidentally, BPF was an ally of the BJP and a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance in Assam till February 27 when Hagrama snapped its ties and a day later joined hands with the Congress-led Mahajot.
The BPF had joined hands with the saffron party in 2016 and won 12 seats. Three of its MLAs were even ministers in the Sarbananda Sonowal cabinet.
However, the relationship turned sour after the BJP abandoned BPF and formed alliance with the United People’s Party Liberation after the election for Bodoland Territorial Council in December last year.
Now that the campaigning for the third and final phase of polling for 40 seats in Assam ends on April 4 evening, Himanta Biswa Sarma would not get opportunity to campaign again.
These assembly seats are of Lower Assam where BPF is also contesting.