The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday said it would appeal to the Election Commission of India to reconsider its decision to ban party general secretary Amit Shah from holding rallies across Uttar Pradesh.
Reacting to the EC order, BJP spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said: "I think, the election commission should reconsider its decision. It is not fair to make comparisons between the statements of Azam Khan and Amit Shah. Azam Khan was actually spreading poison and hatred through his speech. He tried to divide soldiers of the army on the basis of religion. Therefore, the EC must investigate it, and we too had appealed for it."
"It is not fair to take Azam Khan's speech and Amit Shah's speech together. We will appeal to the EC against this. We are fighting on issues. We are talking about respect and concerns, which does not belong to any particular community or caste. It belongs to all sections of society," Naqvi added.
Naqvi reiterated that through voting the government at fault should be punished, and added that no injury is bigger than the one inflicted through votes.
Meanwhile, Congress spokesmen Randeep Surjewala welcomed the EC's decision, and said, "They have ensured that the current elections are not marred by hate speech and hate agenda that is now being perpetuated, propagated and implemented by Amit Shah, and the same can be said for Azam Khan as well.
"What they both said is an anti-thesis to the very idea of India, to the concept of civil and pluralist democracy that India espouses, votes for, and cherishes," he added.
The EC had banned both Shah and Khan from addressing any public rallies after they made "highly inflammatory speeches" during thir respective election campaigns recently.
This action was taken to prevent the two leaders from disrupting the poll atmosphere and hurting religious sentiments.
"The Commission has directed to the state that Amit Shah and Azam Khan have been making highly inflammatory speeches during the course of the current election campaign for general elections in Uttar Pradesh. These statements are inter alia promoting feeling of enmity, hatred and ill will and creating disharmony between different religious communities on the ground of religion," said Chief Election Officer of Uttar Pradesh, Umesh Sinha, while addressing media persons in Lucknow.
The country's independent election body also ordered the authorities to register First Information Reports (FIR) against the two politicians and initiate criminal proceedings against them.