EC bans Ramdev from holding meetings in Lucknow
Lucknow, Apr 27 (IBNS): The Election Commission (EC) on Sunday imposed a ban on yoga guru Baba Ramdev's public meetings or press conferences in Lucknow district of Uttar Pradesh, media reports said.
The ban only applies to Lucknow and not rest of the state.
Even after apologising for his 'honeymoon' remark used to describe Congress-vice-president Rahul Gandhi's links with the Dalits, Baba Ramdev has landed himself in a pool of controversy.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati has threatened to launch a nationwide strike if Baba Ramdev is not arrested for his comment on the Dalit community.
She told media: "I urge the Election Commission to take strict action against Baba Ramdev for his insensitive comments on Dalits. The Election Commission should ensure he is arrested for his statements."
The Congress party has also slammed Baba Ramdev and accused Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi of using the yoga guru as per his convenience.
"Modi uses Ramdev at his own convenience. Modi and Ramdev should apologise for the comment," Congress leader Kumari Selja demanded.
Even BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has also disapproved of Baba Ramdev's comment.
"Ramdev has retracted his statement, so there's no need to comment on it further. However, I feel that it would have been better had Ramdev not made the comment," he said.
Meanwhile, in the wake of this comment, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has also issued fresh guidelines for holding rallies and public meetings.
"They should not invoke, in any manner, religion or religious grounds in any manner, or any activities likely to create disharmony among different classes or groups of people, in their campaign. Such activities/ statements are prohibited being offences under various provisions of the law, like, section 125 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 sections 153A, 1538, lTlc, 295A, 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code and Religious Institutions (Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1988," the ECI said without naming anyone.
"They should not indulge in any activities or make any statements that would amount to attack on personal life of any person or statements that may be malicious or offending decency and morality," it said.
The ECI has further called for close monitoring of rallies or public speeches through videography.
Baba Ramdevsaid the word 'honeymoon' used by him to describe Rahul Gandhi has been 'misrepresented'.
"The word honeymoon has been misrepresented," Baba Ramdev told media.
"The term honeymoon period is over is often used in political language and I tried to use it in that sense actually," he said.
"I had no intention to insult Rahul Gandhi or the Dalit community," Baba Ramdev said.
He said Gandhi went to the houses of poor people and used the opportunity as 'publicity stunt' or 'picnic'.
A First Information Report (FIR) has been filed against the yoga guru for allegedly saying that Gandhi visits Dalit households for 'honeymoon and picnic'.
He also hit out at Rahul and said he does not want to marry an Indian girl.
"On one hand, his mother (Congress president Sonia Gandhi) told him that if marries a foreigner, he won't become the PM. On the other hand, he does not want to marry an Indian girl," he said.
"So now his mother has advised him to first become PM and then marry a foreigner," Baba Ramdev added.
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