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EC issues notice to Amit Shah over ‘vote for revenge’ remark
NEW DELHI: A day after two FIRs were lodged against BJP general secretary Amit Shah, the Election Commission issued a notice to him over his recent communal references while campaigning in western Uttar Pradesh.
The EC notice says Shah had prima facie violated provisions of the model code of conduct that restrain parties and candidates from any activity that could aggravate communal hatred, personal attacks on rival party leaders and making appeal to communal feelings to secure votes.
The EC has directed Shah to reply to its notice by 5pm on April 9, failing which it would decide the matter without any further reference to him. Quoting from Shah’s speeches in Shamli on April 3 and in Bijnore and Muzaffarnagar on April 4, the EC said they prima facie violated sub paras 1, 2 and 3 of Para 1 of the model code of conduct.
Shah had, while addressing a predominantly jat gathering in Bijnore on April 4, said, “Mayawati, to appease a community that oppresses you and rapes your women, gave its members 19 poll tickets….You tell me, can we raise our honour by mingling with a community that kills our men, our youth?” The BJP leaders, who is a close aide of Narendra Modi, further said that “when Modi becomes PM, “Mulla” (Muslim cleric) Mulayam’s government in UP would fall on its own the very next day”.
On March 4, Shah exhorted jats in Muzaffarnagar to “save their honour”. “You have been treated as second-class citizens. If you want to set aside self-respect and practise casteism, I cannot say anything…One who cannot guard his honour is useless,” he said. On April 3 in Shamli, Shah said, “This is the question of honour of Western UP. It is time for revenge now… batons, guns and swords belong to a bygone era. These days you take revenge by pressing the button (on the EVM).” He further said that though nobody wants riots, “when justice is not done to all communities equally, people are forced to take to the streets.”
The EC said the three speeches prima facie attracted sub paras 1, 2 and 3 of para 1 of the model code. While sub para 1 says no party or candidate shall indulge in any activity that aagravates existing differences between communities, sub para 2 debars personal attacks on political leaders. Sub para 3 says there shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes.
The EC action follows a formal complaint against Shah by the Congress. The BJP, on its part, has stoutly defended Shah, saying that his remarks had been twisted out of context.