Even as the party celebrated its foundation day on Friday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was assailed by criticism from all political parties who demanded it be derecognised for distributing its controversial election campaign CD that incited communal hatred.
Though the BJP tried to distance itself from the CD containing inflammatory and communal slogans against Muslims, a host of political leaders made a beeline to the Election Commission (EC) demanding action against BJP leaders for "committing a criminal act".
Former Prime Minister V P Singh's Jan Morcha fired the first salvo calling on Chief Election Commissioner N Goplaswami and said that the BJP alibi that its senior leaders were not aware of the CD's contents was untenable.
"Action must be taken against the BJP for committing a criminal act under the law. It is now up to both the central government and Mulayam Singh's government in Uttar Pradesh to act," he said.
"The three BJP leaders, LK Advani, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Rajnath Singh must apologise to Muslims for hurting their sentiments. I also advise the other Muslim leaders like Shahnawaz Husain and Arif Mohammad Khan (of the party) to resign from the party immediately," he said.
The CD was distributed by BJP leader in the Uttar Pradesh assembly Lalji Tandon at his press conference in Lucknow earlier this week.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati also led a delegation demanding the BJP's disqualification from the elections and action against the party leaders involved in the production and release of the CD.
The Samajwadi Party, caught in a dilemma following the Allahabad High Court order stating that Muslims did not constitute a minority in the state, made capital of the BJP's predicament.
"The BJP stands for Bharat Jalao Party (Burn India Party). This CD is seditious to say the least," said the party's general secretary Amar Singh.
"The BJP is behaving like Mayawati, first calling Muslims fundamentalists and later denying it. Thankfully, in this age of round-the-clock television, it cannot deny this charge," said.
On its part, the BJP sent a delegation comprising party vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, spokespersons Prakash Jawdekar and Rajiv Pratap Rudy and office secretary Shyam Jaju to explain its position.
"We neither regret it (CD) nor are embarrassed about it as we have already clarified that this is not part of our campaign," said Naqvi.
Sources said that the party's national executive member Arun Jaitley had reportedly prepared a detailed reply to the Election Commission notice.
The Election Commission, which has already directed the state authorities to file a first information report (FIR) against party president Rajnath Singh, is likely to make public its announcement on Saturday on its future course of action.