Cracking the whip, the Election Commission today banned BJP leader Giriraj Singh from campaigning in Jharkhand and Bihar for his controversial remarks that people who do not vote for Narendra Modi will have to find a place in Pakistan.
The Commission also separately issued him with a show cause notice.
In a communication to Chief Secretaries of Jharkhand and Bihar, the EC said the district authorities in the two states should not permit Singh from holding public meetings, public processions, rallies and road shows.
"The FIRs filed in the matter shall be investigated quickly and brought to a logical conclusion," the Commission told the two state governments.
It also asked them to take all preventive measures against Singh under relevant provisions of the CrPC "to ensure that no act of commission or omission is resorted to by him which has the effect of prejudicially affecting the public tranquillity and law and order."
It has sought a compliance report from the two governments by 5 pm of Thursday.
Taking note of the "highly inflammatory" speeches of Singh and statements made by him before the media on April 18 at Bokaro and Deoghar in Jharkhand, the Commission also expressed "serious concern".
"The Commission has particularly noted that part of his public utterance that voters who do not vote for Modi shall have to find their place in Pakistan, is totally violative of the principles of the Indian Constitution," the communication said.
Giriraj Singh is a former Bihar minister and a candidate in Lok Sabha elections in Bihar.
The Commission pointed out that Singh's statements are not only violative of the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct but also constitute a serious offence under various provisions of the Representation of the People Act and the IPC.
The Commission made it clear that in a bid to ensure peace and tranquillity during elections and to maintain a level-playing field, it was taking action against Singh using powers vested to it under Article 324 of the Constitution.
Observing that Singh has prima facie violated the Model Code of Conduct, the EC also issued him a separate show-cause notice and directed him to reply by Thursday evening, "failing which the ECI shall take a decision without further reference to you."
The show cause notice quotes Singh as saying in Deoghar: "Today people who slaughter cows get subsidy in the country and not those who tend to them. You will have to decide whether you have to stay with those who slaughter cows or tend to it. People who want to stop Narendra Modi are looking at Pakistan. In the coming days, the place for such people will be in Pakistan, not in India not in Jharkhand..."
The poll body has also provided Singh with a copy of the CD carrying his remarks.
Despite party president Rajnath Singh pulling him up, a defiant Giriraj Singh has said he stood by his comments.
In a series of tweets today, BJP prime ministerial nominee Modi disapproved of the 'petty' statements.
"Petty statements by those claiming to be BJP's well- wishers are deviating the campaign from the issues of development and good governance," he said.