Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Amit Shah, who is in charge of the party's campaign in Uttar Pradesh, on Thursday accepted the Election Commission's censure in relation to a series of speeches that were deemed to have stoked communal tensions, especially with Muslims. It was not immediately clear what impact a possibly disruptive ban on meetings in Uttar Pradesh by such a high profile figure would have on Modi's campaign in the state.
The Election Commission (EC) ruled that Shah had made statements that promoted "hatred and ill will" between religions and urged police to press criminal charges. Shah, who was censured by the EC on Wednesday, said his intentions were clear, but he was being misinterpreted. "I never wanted to violate the code of conduct of elections through my speeches. But, as far as the interpretation of the speeches is concerned, the Election Commission (EC) is the foremost authority and I have received the notice sent by it. I will keep in mind the remark of the EC and I accept what it has said," said Shah.
Speaking this month in areas of Uttar Pradesh that bore the brunt of deadly Hindu-Muslim riots last year, Shah was recorded telling voters to reject parties with Muslim candidates. He said Muslims in the area had raped, killed and humiliated Hindus. Shah also justified his position saying a bowler could not give a good delivery every time. "Any bowler, when he bowls, sometimes gives a no-ball," he said. The EC had recently banned Shah and Azam Khan from addressing any public rallies in the state.
Earlier, police had filed a case against Shah for allegedly saying that parliamentary polls were elections for honour and to take revenge for the insult heaped on them. The BJP leader also added that it was an election to teach a lesson to those who had committed an injustice. (ANI)