Election Commission on Wednesday granted MNS chief Raj Thackeray two more days to respond to a show cause notice for his alleged remarks against non-Maharashtrians during a poll rally. Thackeray, who was supposed to have submitted his response by morning on Wednesday, can now do so by October 17 evening. The poll body allowed the extension of deadline following a request by the MNS leader. If he fails to respond to the notice before the expiry of the deadline, EC will take a decision without further reference to him.
The EC notice, reproducing in English the alleged remarks which were made in Marathi, quoted Thackeray as saying, “From the day you give this state in my hands, from that day employment in any industry created in Maharashtra will be given only to Marathi boys and girls… No employment will be given to the boys and girls from other states. Their entry will also be stopped. Their inquiry will be started from the train itself.”
The comments by Thackeray are alleged to have been made at an election meeting in the Ghatkopar Assembly constituency on Oct. 5. Issuing the show-cause notice on Oct. 13, EC reminded Thackeray that the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct specify that no party or candidate would engage in any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic.
It also said that, under Section 125 of Representation of the People Act, it was an electoral offence in the context of an election to promote enmity between different classes of citizens on the grounds of religion, race, caste, community or language.