Ahmedabad: The Election Commission has given a clean chit to Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi, former Vice-Chancellor of Darul Uloom Deoband, over a speech that BJP claimed was "provocative" and violated poll code.

Vastanvi was sacked from the post of Vice-Chancellor of the leading Islamic seminary last year allegedly for praising Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Speaking at an election rally organised by Congress at Mandvi in Surat district on October 22, he had reportedly said that it was a crime to praise a 'zalim' (tyrant) and that he never praised Modi. Vastanvi had also reportedly appealed to minority community members to vote for Congress.

BJP had termed the speech as "provocative" and lodged a complaint with the EC, saying it violated Model Code of Conduct (MCC) which is in force for December Assembly poll.

The EC, in a letter to BJP Vice-President Purshottam Rupala on Monday, communicated that it was not necessary to take action against Vastanvi as they didn't feel any objectionable statement or appeal made by him in the public rally, after investigations.

"The EC did not consider it appropriate to take action on the basis of press reports and therefore obtained the CD of the entire proceeding of the meeting.

"After watching the CD, the commission did not consider it necessary to take action against Vastanvi because it did not feel any objectionable statement or appeal having being made by him, which could be taken up as a violation of MCC or any provision of the election laws," the letter written by EC Secretary Harbans Singh to Rupala stated.

Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath, in reply to a question on Vastanvi, today said, "We had examined the CD of the entire programme, and took action against the organizer and two speakers. However, in Vastanvi's case we did not find any violation of Model Code of Conduct."

(Agencies)

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