The BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's close aide Amit Shah had found himself in the centre of a controversy when his remark - while addressing a gathering in Shamli,mUttar Pradesh - to use ballot boxes to take revenge in this Lok Sabha election had caused a furore. The Modi detractors had termed this remark as hate speech and subsequently even the Election Commission had barred Amit Shah from campaigning in Uttar Pradesh.
But now he can heave a sigh of relief because the EC has heard his case and after carefully weighing all pros and cons it has given its nod to Amit Shah for campaigning in Uttar Pradesh. The reason for the EC to soften its stand can be attributed to the fact that Amit Shah has shown respect for the EC and its rules. He has take a solemn pledge to not to indulge in the use of words that disturb the law and order.
The EC has rightly taken cognizance of such a sincere appeal and has given him a second chance to campaign in Uttar Pradesh where Amit Shah has been burning the midnight oil to improve his party's total tally of the Lok Sabha seats.
At around the same time another high profile leader on whom the EC cracked its whip was Azam Khan of the Samajavadi Party. He was caught giving hate speeches with a view to polarising Uttar Pradesh along the communal lines. His attempts to drag the Kargil martyrs in electioneering had drawn sharp responses from critics. His diatribes against both Narendra Modi and Amit Shah were threatening to vitiate the atmosphere that could potentially endanger the law and order.
Keeping all this in mind, the EC meted out the same treatment to Azam Khan as it did to Amit Shah. The BJP baiters were quick to point that both Amit Shah and Azam Khan were two different sides of the same coin. But Amit Shah with his pledge to steer clear of any frenzy has proved that he respects the democracy, electoral process and above all the EC. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about Azam Khan who has ever since been crying foul and has remained defiant.
Azam Khan has been in vain trying to portray himself the victim of the EC's high headedness. Despite of receiving warnings from the EC, he continued with his hate agenda unabated and when the EC took strict against against him by banning him from holding or participating in any election related campaigns or activities, he played victim and cried foul by displaying the holier that thou attitude. The EC is not in a mood to relent as far as Azam Khan is concerned since he has accused the Election Commission of being dictatorial in nature while dealing with his case.
Azam Khan shows no remorse for his inflammatory speeches. His party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav too has not reprimanded him publicly. On the contrary he has supported him. This clearly exposes the SP's game-plan of using hatred to win the election. The EC is right in firmly showing disturbing elements like Azam Khan their place. The Indian voter is also tired of hate speeches and communal tension. The need of the hour are peace, harmony and a debate on development.
Amit Shah has respected the law of the land and he does not want his party to suffer on account of his conduct. The EC too has softened its stand on him because he could rest his case with convincing arguments. Whereas Azam Khan resorted to the victimhood narrative to corner the EC. But at the end of the day, good has prevailed over the evil and this approach of the EC will serve as a deterrent to the future hate speech deliverers.