The Election Commission of India (ECI) has barred Congress leader Randeep Surjewala from holding any rallies, and public appearances, or giving interviews for two days from 6 pm on Tuesday, for making objectionable comment against BJP candidate from Mathura Lok Sabha constituency, Hema Malini.

On March 9, the Election Commission issued Randeep Surjewala a show-cause notice for his alleged undignified remarks against actor-turned-politician Hema Malini which was a violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

The poll body also sought a response from Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharage on the steps taken to ensure strict compliance with its advisories on upholding the honour and dignity of women during public discourse by its leaders.

Surjewala, in his reply to Commission on April 11, claimed the video capturing his remarks was doctored. The ECI said that it also received a report from District Election Officer of Kaithal, Haryana, on the election rally the Congress leader addressed on March 31, this year, at Faral village of Pundri assembly constituency.

After examining the video footage of the rally, the Commission stated that it was “convinced” that Surjewala made the statements which violated provisions of the Model Code of Conduct.

“Now, therefore, the Commission without prejudice to any Order/Notice issued or to be issued subsequently to him in the matter relating to MCC violations, hereby strongly condemns the impugned statement made by him during election campaign held in Haryana and reprimands Sri Randeep Surjewala for the above said misconduct,” the ECI said in its order.

Drawing power from Article 324 of Constitution, the ECI barred him from holding any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows and interviews, public utterances in media (electronic, print, social media) in connection with ongoing elections for 48 hours from 6 pm on April 16, it stated.