Three days after he allegedly asked Jats to avenge the riots that ravaged Muzaffarnagar by voting for the BJP, party general secretary Amit Shah was Sunday booked for making an “inflammatory speech”.
The Election Commission was examining the controversial remarks by Shah, a close aide of BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi’s and also the party’s poll in charge for Uttar Pradesh — and was likely to take a decision at a meeting on Monday, sources said.
“After examining the CD of his meeting, we have found him guilty of spreading hatred and delivering inflammatory speech,” Bijnore returning officer Bhawani Singh told HT over the phone. The charges can invite up to five years in jail.
Shah’s speech at Kanha resort of the district that border’s Muzaffarnagar triggered an uproar, with the Congress asking the EC to ban him for campaigning in Uttar Pradesh.
“In Uttar Pradesh, especially western UP, it is an election for honour. It is an election to take revenge for the insult… to teach a lesson to those who committed injustice,” a media report quoted Shah as telling Jat leaders.
Violence between Jats and Muslims in Muzaffarnagar district in September last left more than 60 people dead and thousands homeless. Some parts of this communally-charged district fall under the Bijnore Lok Sabha constituency.
In Delhi, the BJP said the FIR was designed for vote bank politics. Party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad questioned the “selective targeting” of Shah. No action was taken against Congress leader Beni Prasad Verma and UP minister Mohammad Azam Khan for “inflammatory” speeches, he said.
“He only asked people to use vote as an occasion to express their pain and agony. Even US President Barak Obama said… that voting is the best revenge,” Prasad said.
“Shah’s rank communal remark shows that BJP does not understand the idea of India and its agenda is to divide communities and get votes,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.
Recently, Congress’ Saharanpur candidate Imran Masoodi was arrested for his alleged hate speech against Modi. He was released on bail three days later.
(With inputs from Delhi)