Raising the communal temperature in riot-affected western UP going to polls on Monday, Narendra Modi's close aide Amit Shah has spoken of the current election being an opportunity to take "revenge for the insult" during the violence in Muzaffarnagar last year.
"In Uttar Pradesh, especially western UP, it is an election for honour. It is an election to take revenge for the insult. It an an election to teach a lesson to those who have committed injustice," he told a meeting of community leaders two days ago. The controversial BJP leader's speech came under attack from political parties which accused him of vitiating the atmosphere in the region, which witnessed one of the worst communal riots between Jats and Muslims in September last year.
The Congress approached the Election Commission seeking action against Shah for "creating animosity between communities". With Shah was BJP legislator Suresh Rana, an accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots cases. Yesterday, Shah met leaders of gujjars, rajputs and dalits as part of his campaign to rally their communities behind BJP.
"A man can live without food or sleep. He can live when he is thirsty and hungry but when he is insulted, he cannot live. The insult has to be avenged," he had reportedly told them. Congress, BSP, SP and JD(U) accused Modi of trying to inflame communal passions through Amit Shah while himself wearing the "mask" of development.
BJP, however, saw nothing wrong in remarks by Shah, party's UP incharge. "UP government has insulted the people there. It is not a question of Hindus and Muslims. Those who went there for secular tourism, they have insulted the people. Instead of putting balm on the wounds of the victims, they sprinkled salt. Revenge should be taken for this insult," BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.
Meanwhile, in Farukkhabad, Union minister Salman Khurshid said "if taking revenge was a part of Modi's manifesto, then it's wrong. Revenge would pose a threat to the democracy." While talking to reporters here, Khurshid attacked Modi saying how a party which could not frame its manifesto could claim to run the country.