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Satti banned from campaigning for 48 hours for derogatory comment against Rahul

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(Eds: Adds Cong reaction, other details) Shimla, Apr 19 (PTI) The Election Commission has banned Himachal Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party president Satpal Satti from holding public rallies for 48 hours for his derogatory remark against Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Satti, who had read out a cuss word against Gandhi from a message circulating on social media, has been barred from holding public rallies from 10am Saturday, according to an EC order, which said the remark was indecent, derogatory and totally uncalled for. The ban bars Satti from holding public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows and interviews, public utterances in (electronic, print, social) media in connection with the Lok Sabha election under way, EC Secretary Rahul Sharma said in the order. EC has barred Satti from holding public rallies under article 324 of the Constitution. The article gives the poll panel the powers of "superintendence, direction and control" of elections. The commission is convinced that the statement is in "violation of the provisions contained in para 2 of part-1 of General Conduct of Model Code of Conduct and commission's advisory, dated Nov28, 2013", a state electoral official said. The EC strongly condemns the statement and reprimands Satti for the misconduct, he added. According to the Election Commission, criticism of other political parties, when made, shall be confined to their policies and programmes, past record and work. Parties and candidates should refrain from criticising aspects of private life, not connected to the public activities of the leaders or workers of other parties. HP Congress president Kuldeep Rathore termed the ban on Satti inadequate, saying he should have been banned from campaigning till the completion of the election process. State BJP general secretary Chander Mohan Thakur said, "BJP leaders do not engage in indecent remarks. The state BJP chief already made his position clear that he was reading a message viral on social media. On the contrary, it is Congress whose president, Rahul Gandhi, and other leaders used unwanted 'chor' word for the prime minister." Satti had made the remark during an address to his party's workers at Ramshehar village of Solan district on Sunday. The state Congress unit filed a formal complaint with EC on Monday. A day later, the poll panel served a notice to Satti, seeking his reply within 24 hours. An FIR was also registered against Satti under section 294 of IPC. The Congress state unit had sought Satti's apology, but he refused saying he merely read out the contents of a message which was already circulating on social media. PTI DJI ABH ABH ABH

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