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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014

Hate speeches: Odious lingo of the summer of ’14

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 12, 2014
First Published: 01:12 IST(12/4/2014) | Last Updated: 01:14 IST(12/4/2014)

Hate speeches have ruled politics ahead of the 2014 elections, with the BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi being most targeted of them all. The EC, after some initial dithering, has cracked the whip on erring leaders.

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Almost half the complaints received are about hate speeches – ranging from describing a leader as relative of a puppy and stripping opposition leaders to chopping someone.

“No election was as bad as this one,” election commissioner HS Brahma said. He feels that the leaders were exploiting the limitation of the model code of conduct that has not been revised since 1997.

But experts feel the EC has not been stern enough to check hate speeches.

“The EC has powers to derecognise a party and withdraw its symbol,” said former CEC N Gopalaswami, hours before it banned the BJP’s Amit Shah and the SP’s Azam Khan from campaigning in UP. The commission has also directed the state to register cases against them.

TS Krishnamurthy, former CEC, accepted that the hate speeches had been the hallmark of this election and the EC didn’t act fast. Khan’s is a case in point. The commission took time in seeking an explanation from him for communally attacking Modi and his protégé Amit Shah in western UP.

Observers also point out the action against Shah and Khan has come late and may have no meaning now.

“Their political purpose has been served. They have polarised the Muslim and Hindu votes,” said CP Bhambri, former professor of political science at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The Congress has taken a lead in filing complaints to the EC with an average of one every working day. They include objections to BJP releasing its manifesto on a poll date and Modi participating in a yoga camp organised by Ramdev.


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