The election watchdog found Shah prima facie guilty of violating the model code of conduct on three counts — creating mutual hatred or causing tension between different communities on religious lines; criticising aspects of private life; and making an appeal on communal lines for security votes.
The Commission referred to three of Shah's speeches and directed him to explain the same by 5pm on Wednesday. If Shah's reply fails to satisfy the Commission, it can admonish him or, at the maximum, can advise him not to undertake and address the public in Uttar Pradesh until the election ends.
BJP's prime ministerial candidate Modi went into damage control mode on Monday while releasing the party's manifesto. "I will not do anything with ill intent," Modi said.
Shah, in charge of BJP's poll campaign in Uttar Pradesh, had allegedly said in a speech that the election is a chance to seek "revenge for the insult" inflicted during riots in Muzaffarnagar in September last year.
"In Uttar Pradesh, especially western Uttar Pradesh, this election is one of honour, it is an opportunity to take revenge and to teach a lesson to people who have committed injustice," he had said last Thursday while campaigning in Shamli, one of the worst riot-hit areas.
In yet another controversial speech, Shah allegedly said: "Mayawati gave tickets to a community that exploits you, neglects their own women, humiliates them...Those who insulted us and killed our people... can sitting with them be good for our honour? If you vote for the BJP, Narendra Modi will become PM, and Mullah Mulayam's government will fall."
He purportedly also said, "Nobody wants riots. But when there is one-sided action, people are forced to come out of the streets."