The Election Commission of India has sought Uttar Pradesh Election Commission’s response on a plea seeking cancellation of candidature of all AIMIM candidates over non-compliance with the rules of Representation of the People Act, 1951 during the ongoing state Assembly polls.
In a complaint, Delhi-based advocate and social activist Vineet Jindal alleged that the All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) candidates violated section 123 (3) & (3a) Representation of People Act, 1951.
As per the complainant, President of AIMIM Asaduddin Owaisi, who is a member of the Lok Sabha from Hyderabad, has given many “controversial” statements and speeches during his election campaign rallies and press conferences, which have been widely circulated on print media, electronic media, and social platforms to seek votes for his party candidates.
“Owaisi accused the BJP government of not allowing Muslim girls to wear a hijab and also shared a video clip on his Twitter account. On February 13, he stated: “One day, a hijabi will become the Prime Minister of India’,” the complaint read.
Jindal stated that a case regarding wearing hijab in educational institutes is pending in Karnataka High Court and an interim judgment has already been passed in the present matter which restrains all students regardless of their religion or faith from wearing saffron shawls, scarves, hijab, religious flags, or the like within the classrooms.
He alleged that Owaisi is meant to give a misinterpretation and misperception of the said controversy over hijab to incite the Muslim community and gain votes in favour of AIMIM candidates in the ongoing elections.
The complainant also highlighted Owaisi’s January 29 television interview, in which he allegedly said: “In 2019, when Amit Shah brought a Bill to amend the UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act), based on which NIA (National Investigation Agency), an inspector sitting in Delhi can declare any Muslim a terrorist and “he wanted to see Uttar Pradesh’s 19 per cent Muslim population get fair representation”.
By making these statements, his sole motive was to provoke Muslims against other political parties on the basis of religion to get the Muslim votes by motioning himself and his party candidates as Muslims, Jindal stated.
Referring to Section 123 of the Representation of People Act 1951, the complaint said the Act defines as “corrupt practice” appeals made by a candidate or his agents to vote or refrain from voting for any person on the ground of “his” religion, race, caste, community or language and that “religion, race, caste, community or language would not be allowed to play any role in the electoral process” and that election of a candidate would be declared null and void if an appeal is made to seek votes on these considerations. The electoral processes are secular activities of the state and religion can have no place in it, he said.
He also referred to the apex court ruling on the subject, praying before the Election Commission of India that the candidature of all candidates filed by AIMIM contesting in Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2022 shall be cancelled and declared null and void for violation of section 123 (3) & (3a) Representation of People Act 1951 in the interest of justice and to safeguard the Constitution and maintaining the sanctity of the electoral process.