Bihar polls: Election Commission orders banning controversial BJP ads

The Election Commission on Friday clamped a ban on publication of two controversial advertisements printed by BJP in Bihar where assembly polls are on.

In a strongly-worded advisory to Chief Electoral Officer of Bihar Ajay Naik, the Commission has asked him to ensure that the two advertisements are not published in any newspaper or journal from tomorrow onwards till the election process is over. One of the advertisements alleges that RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar are “snatching the plate of dalits” by planning to transfer the quota meant for dalits and EBCs to minorities.

Another advertisement deals with ‘vote ki kheti’ or votebank politics. It claimed that RJD, JDU and Congress leaders are “giving santuary” to terrorists to appease a particular community for votes. The two advertisements have already been published prominently in Hindi dailies brought out from Patna. The Commission has also asked the state CEO to inform the Bihar BJP unit that such advertisements should not be published or broadcast.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had accused Lalu and Kumar of conspiring to take away part of the quota for Dalits and EBCs and give it to “another community”.

Sources in the poll watchdog said that the poll officials in the state will also check whether the name and details of the printer and publisher of the advertisements have been printed on the face of it as per the provisions of Section 127 A of the Representation of the People Act. The sources said the advertisements have the “potential” of dividing people on caste and religious lines which is against electoral laws and the model code.

Earlier in the day, the Grand Alliance had moved the EC against the advertisements. The state CEO has also given a report to EC in this regard.