The Election Commission on Wednesday issued a notice to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for violating the model code of conduct while campaigning for the West Bengal Assembly elections.
The notice was served to Banerjee for her alleged remarks urging the Muslim community to vote en block for the TMC.
The development comes just a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit out at the TMC chief claiming her comments indicate that the Muslim vote bank is slipping from the TMC’s grasp.
"Didi recently asked all Muslims to vote en bloc for her. It shows that the Muslim vote bank is slipping out of her hands. Had we said the same thing that all Hindus should unite, everybody would have criticised us. The EC would have sent us notices. We would have been censured," Modi had said while addressing an election rally in Bengal on Tuesday.
Banerjee has been asked to respond to the notice within the next 48 hours.
The notice said the poll panel had received a complaint from a BJP delegation alleging that on April 3, Banerjee appealed to the Muslim voters not to let their votes get split among different political parties during an election rally at Tarakeshwar in Hooghly.
"Kanyashree, Kanyashree, there are scholarships up to the university. There is Shishashree for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. For general category there is Swami Vivekananda Scholarship. There is Aikyashree for my brothers and sisters belonging to the minority community and I have given it to 2 crores and 35 lakh beneficiaries. I am requesting my minority brothers and sisters with folded hands don't divide the minority votes after listening to the devil (shaitaan) who has taken money from the BJP.
"He passes many communal statements and initiates clashes between the Hindu and the Muslims. He is one of the apostles of the BJP, a comrade. The comrades of CPI-M and BJP are roaming around with the money given by the BJP to divide the minority votes. Please don't allow them to do so. Keep in mind that if the BJP comes into the government then you will be in severe danger," the notice quoted Banerjee as saying.
The EC said it found her speech violating the provisions of the Representation of the People Act and the model code.
(With PTI inputs)