The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday issued a notice to Congress leader and Punjab Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu seeking an explanation within 24 hours for his remarks "urging Muslims to not split votes," made during a rally on April 16 in Katihar, Bihar.

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"The Commission, after considering the available material and extant instructions on the matter, has decided to provide you an opportunity to explain your stand regarding the said statement. Your explanation shall be submitted within 24 hours of the receipt of this notice, failing which the Commission shall take a decision without further reference to you," the electoral body stated in its letter to Sidhu.

Sidhu had on April 16 warned Muslims not to split their votes and instead defeat the BJP by voting against it unitedly.

"I am here to warn my Muslim brothers. They (BJP) are dividing you. By bringing people like (Asaduddin) Owaisi here, they want to divide your vote for winning. If you people unite and vote unitedly, then everything will overturn and Modi will be finished," said Sidhu.

"This will be a sixer. Hit such a sixer that Modi is sent out of the boundary," Sidhu added by invoking reference of cricket, a sport which he had retired from after playing in the national team.
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