Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma – who was banned from campaigning for 48 hours last night before the third phase of the Assembly elections on Tuesday – did not challenge the Election Commission order outside the Gauhati High Court, sources close to the top BJP leader said on Saturday afternoon.
Sources told NDTV that Mr. Sarma accepted the order of the higher polling body and that media reports that he filed an appeal in the High Court in Gauhati were false. Mr Sarma will not move the High Court, or any other court, against the orders of the Election Commission, sources said.
Earlier reports had suggested that Mr. Sarma would, in fact, move the High Court to Gauhati and a hearing on this matter could take place later today.
On Friday evening, the polling station issued its order after confirming a complaint from Congress; The party said Sarma openly threatened to send Hagrama Mohilary – of which the Bodoland Popular Front is a member of the opposition alliance – to prison by misusing the National Investigation Agency.
The period of the ban actually meant that Mr Sarma – who is the BJP’s main poll strategist and has been listed as a “star activist” – could no longer campaign in that assembly election.
Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala welcomed the ban and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Interior Minister Amit Shah and BJP leader JP Nadda should also be banned.
“EC banning Himanta Sarma for 48 hours proves BJP has lost polls … uses tactics to influence polls … should also ban Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Sarbananda Sonowal and JP Nadda, which have been aired in advertisements in Assam newspapers, for free and fair polls, ”he told ANI news agency.
On Thursday, the polling station sent a notice of justification to Mr. Sarma, to which he replied on Friday. Unfortunately for him, the explanation was deemed “unsatisfactory”.
Mr Mohilary was once a BJP ally but moved to Congress after the BJP teamed up with the United People’s Liberal Party (UPPL) to form the Bodoland Territorial Council in December.
The election to the 126-member Assam Assembly took place in three phases, with 77.2% of voters casting their vote in 39 constituencies in the second phase on April 1. In the first phase, on March 27, around 76% of voters in 30 constituencies voted.
The third and final phase will be held on April 6 and the votes will be counted on May 2.
With the contribution of ANI