The Election Commission on Friday issued a stern warning to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath over his alleged reference to the Indian Army as “Modiji Ki Sena” (Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Army).
“Be careful in your utterances in the future,” news agency PTI quoted the poll panel as saying.
The warning by the EC came on a day when the Congress urged the former to take cognisance of Yogi Adityanath and Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi's "Modi ki Army" comment and take a "decisive" action to deter others from making such a statement.
They said the EC also told Adityanath that since he is a senior politician holding an important position, his remarks should reflect his stature.
The commission was not satisfied with his reply in which he is learnt to have hailed the role of the EC in conducting polls.
Addressing a rally in Ghaziabad on Sunday, Adityanath had said: “Congress ke log aatankvadiyon ko biryani khilate the aur Modi ji ki sena aatankvadiyon ko goli aur gola deti hai (Congress fed terrorists biryani while Modi’s army feeds them bullets and bombs). Congress people use "ji" for terrorists like Masood Azhar but under the leadership of PM Modi, the BJP government is breaking the backs of terrorists by striking their camps.”
Three days later in Lucknow, Naqvi was caught on camera making a similar comment. He, however, tried to wriggle out of the controversy that had been raging, saying he did not make the comment in as many words.
The Election Commission had issued a show-cause notice to Adityanath for his controversial comment and sought his response.
Amidst the opposition attack on Adityanath for his remark, the poll panel had also asked the district magistrate of Ghaziabad to submit a report so that it can be checked whether there was any violation of Model Code of Conduct as it has already asked political parties to "desist" during their Lok Sabha poll campaigns from indulging in any propaganda involving defence forces.
Apart from angry reactions from opposition leaders, the chief minister's remarks also did not go down well with the military with sources indicating that it was "upset".
Former Navy chief Admiral L Ramdas also said he was "upset" over the Uttar Pradesh chief minister's remarks. "The armed forces do not belong to any individual, but to the nation and he will approach the EC over the remarks made by the BJP leader".
Lt Gen (retd) H S Panag also said,"such comments lead to the politicisation of the Army."