Despite an attempted clean-up drive by the election commission, hateful and intimidating speech-making remains a highlight of 2014 poll season. While high-profile leaders such as Narendra Modi's aide Amit Shah and Samajwadi Party strongman Azam Khan have been charged with making divisive statements, there are several others who could not stay away from nasty poll rhetoric. We take a look:
According to a report in The Times of India, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) president on April 19, 2014, targeted Muslims buying properties in Hindu areas in Bhavnagar, Gujarat. He later joined a street protest outside a house bought by a Muslim businessman near Meghani Circle. On Monday, Togadia rejected the media report and said he would take legal action against the "conspiracy". The BJP and RSS supported him. Read more
Imran Masood, the Congress candidate from Saharanpur, was arrested on March 29 for making a hate speech against the BJP's prime ministerial nominee Modi in a hate speech. He threatened to "chop Narendra Modi into pieces". Read more
Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan on April 7, 2014, said India won the Kargil War solely because of Muslim soldiers and no Hindu soldier was behind the victory.
Addressing a rally in Ghaziabad, the senior Uttar Pradesh minister, while asking "Hindus brothers" to embrace Muslims, said,"…isliye mohabbat karo ki Kargil ki pahadiyo ko fateh karne wala koi Hindu nahi tha, balki Kargil ki pahadiyo ko nara-e-takbeer Allah-Hu-Akbar kehkar fathe karnewale Musalman fauji the… (love us because peaks of Kargil were not conquered by Hindus, but by Muslim soldiers raising the battlecry of God is the Greatest)." Read more
Modi's key associate Amit Shah was recently banned by the election commission from campaigning in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly inciting the public by a controversial "revenge" remark during a speech in Muzaffarnagar.
Shah, on April 3, 2014, allegedly said: "... This election is about voting out the government that protects and gives compensation to those who killed jats. It is about badla (revenge) and protecting izzat (honour)."
A day later, he said while a man could live without food and water, "apmaan ka badla to lena hoga (an insult has to be avenged)".
The EC lifted the ban on Shah on April 18, 2014, after he accepted its censure over his speech. Read more
Beni Prasad Verma
Congress leader and steel minister Beni Prasad Verma on April 20, 2014, in Lucknow alleged that Modi committed murder at the age of 18 and ran away from home. He also said that several criminal cases were registered against Modi at various police stations in Gujarat, but he "took care of them" when he became the chief minister. Read more
BJP leader Giriraj Singh on April 19, 2014, said in a poll campaign speech that those who opposed Modi would have to move to Pakistan after the Lok Sabha election results came out. Read more
Other leaders who made vitriolic speeches were KPCC president G Parameshwara, who said he was waiting for HD Deve Gowda to consume poison, and Siddaramaiah, who called Narendra Modi a mass murderer and said that if he was elected prime minister there would be a bloodbath in the country. Congress leader CM Ibrahim compared Modi to a terrorist and animal husbandry minister TB Jayachandra compared him to a donkey.