Narendra Modi's close aide Amit Shah was surrounded by fresh controversy on Sunday as he dubbed Azamgarh as the "base of terrorists", drawing sharp reaction from the ruling Samajwadi Party. The SP demanded that the Election Commission take cognisance immediately and act against Shah.
Campaigning for the BJP's Azamgarh candidate Ramakant Yadav, who is taking on SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shah said the number of terrorists from Azamgarh was high as the state government was advocating their release in many cases.
"Azamgarh is the base of terrorists as there is no fear of the government, which is advocating their release," the BJP in-charge for Uttar Pradesh said.
"The accused in Gujarat bomb blasts were from Azamgarh. Being the then home minister there (Gujarat), I got the accused arrested. Since then, not a single terrorist act has taken place in Gujarat," he said.
Reacting to the statement made by Shah, who is considered close to the BJP's prime ministerial nominee, SP leader CP Rai said: "Such a remark is an insult to Azamgarh. The BJP wants to win the elections by communalising the atmosphere. The EC should immediately take cognisance of Shah's remark and take action against him. Though EC had once taken action against him, he has not mended his ways."
Attacking Mulayam, Shah said the SP leader's concept of socialism was limited to "promoting nepotism" and added that he was preparing political ground for his second son Prateek Yadav in Azamgarh.
Dubbing the Congress the "most corrupt" government, Shah alleged that it usurped Rs. 12 lakh crore through scams during its 10-year-rule.
Attacking SP and BSP supremos, Shah said Mulayam and Mayawati were claiming that they would become the next prime minister, but they have no existence outside UP.