Ahmedabad: The BJP on Saturday said it was "deeply saddened" by the Election Commission order on party leader Amit Shah and defended his "revenge remarks", which had triggered a political storm and invited condemnation.
The poll panel yesterday banned Shah, an aide of Narendra Modi, who has been accused of making hate speeches, from holding public meetings, processions or roadshows in Uttar Pradesh and asked authorities to initiate criminal proceedings against him. The EC had passed a similar order against SP leader and Uttar Pradesh Minister Azam Khan.
"BJP has been deeply saddened by the 11th April order of Election Commission related to Amit Shah though BJP has the highest regards for the majesty and authority of the Commission," the party`s chief media coordinator, Ravishankar Prasad, said at a press conference here.
He said the BJP will explore all legal options on the Shah issue.
The EC had also directed the UP Chief Secretary to ensure no act of commission or omission is resorted to by Shah and Khan that can affect public tranquillity and law & order.
The BJP general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh affairs had questioned the EC decision on the ground it was taken before be submitted a reply to the show-cause notice.
The EC was, in fact, angry over Khan`s controversial speeches and Uttar Pradesh`s Government`s inability to take action against him, but Shah is paying the price for the SP leader`s deeds, Prasad said.
Defending Shah`s controversial "revenge remarks", the Deputy Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha said, "Amit Shah has not talked about violence, tension. He just said if you are distressed, exploited and feeling disrespected by SP and Congress then vote against them."
Prasad said US President Barack Obama had made similar remarks in the past. "In democracy, people can get rid of their pain by casting their vote. In a speech at Ohio, US President Obama had said take your revenge by voting."
"The order of Election Commission does not say that Amit Shah has talked about violence. It says Azam Khan has been delivering provocative speeches due to UP Government`s inaction," he said, adding BJP was anguished by the EC move with regard to Shah.
Prasad said, "Azam Khan has been making instigating and derogatory speeches despite EC`s notice and the Commission is anguished over his conduct."