In another setback to BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma, the Election Commission of India has transferred Goalpara Superintendent of Police Sushanta Biswa Sarma out of his district. The latest order by the ECI has come hours after the national poll body slapped a 48-hour ban from campaigning in the ongoing assembly elections on the controversial BJP leader. The national poll body has appointed IPS officer Veera Venakata Reddy with immediate effect in Sushanta Biswa Sarma’s place.
The latest ruling by the Election Commission assumes significance in light of the last phase of the assembly elections in Assam scheduled for 6 April, for which the campaigning will end tomorrow.
The Election Commission on Friday had banned Himanta Biswa Sarma from campaigning for 48 hours with immediate effect for allegedly making threatening remarks against Bodoland People’s Front chief Hagrama Mohilary. According to news agency PTI, Sarma had said, “If Hagrama does extremism with Batha he will go to jail. This is a straight talk. If Hagrama encourages Batha, he will go to jail. Already got lot of evidence. This case is being given to NIA.”
The Congress, Bodoland People’s Front’s alliance partner in the elections, had approached the Election Commission seeking action against Sarma. The Election Commission, which was not satisfied with Sarma’s response, had condemned his speech. “… The Commission hereby strongly condemns the impugned statements made by Himanta Biswa Sarma … The Commission … bars him from holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows, interviews and public utterances in media (electronic, print, social media) in connection with ongoing elections for 48 hours from immediate effect on April 02 (Friday).”
As part of the ban, Sarma has been barred from holding any public meetings, processions, rallies, roadshows, interviews and utterances in media (electronic, print, social media) in connection with ongoing elections for 48 hours with immediate effect on 2 April.
Sarma later tweeted, “I am asked by ECI to stop campaigning for the next 48 hours. Therefore, all my meetings scheduled for tomorrow stand cancelled.” In another tweet, he said, “I have not challenged the order of the Election Commission of India before any Court of Law.”