The poll panel has asked Modi to explain by 5 PM on November 16, why action should not be initiated against him for the said remark made while campaigning in Chhattisgarh.

"Whereas, it has been, prima facie, observed that by making the aforesaid statements, you have violated the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct. Now, therefore, you are hereby called upon to explain by 5 PM of November 16, 2013 as to why action should not be taken against you for aforesaid violation of Model Code of Conduct," the EC notice said.

The EC said if no reply is received within the prescribed time, it will be presumed that he has nothing to say and the Commission will take appropriate action without any further reference to him.

A copy of the video CD of Modi's speech of November 7 in Dongargarh Rajnandgaon of Chhattisgarh was obtained by the Commission alongwith remarks by the Returning Officer before issuing the notice to him.

Modi while campaigning in Chhattisgarh on November 7 had said, "When Atal Behari Vajpayee formed Chhattisgarh, whose hands did it first go into...Do you want such a "khooni panja" (bloodied hand) again...Brothers and sisters, don't commit that mistake again. Even by mistake, don't ever let Chhattisgarh go into the hands of a 'Zalim Panja' (cruel hands)."

The EC notice comes close on the heels of a similar notice issued to Rahul Gandhi over his remarks of ISI link to Muzaffarnagar riot victim remarks and accusing BJP of spreading hatred among communities. The EC has expressed its displeasure to Gandhi and asked him to be more circumspect in his public utterances in future.

(Agencies)

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