New Delhi: BJP on Monday came under attack from political parties over controversial "revenge" remarks by Narendra Modi`s close aide Amit Shah in riot affected western UP districts, with Congress demanding that he be arrested and banned from campaigning for "stoking communal fire".
Samajwadi Party called Modi and his aides "fascists" while BSP alleged that he was using Shah to vitiate the atmosphere and cause communal polarisation while himself wearing the "mask" of development.
BJP`s former ally JD(U) said Shah was speaking like a dictator and accused his party of trying to create fear in the minds of the minority community.
"BJP, Modi and Amit Shah are trying to replicate the politics of hatred and communal divide like what was done in 2002 in Gujarat," Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala said, adding Shah and BJP MLA Suresh Rana should be prevented from campaigning in any part of the country.
"There should be a complete ban," he said.
Taking the issue to the EC, the Congress in a statement demanded "stern action including de-recognition of the political party (BJP) which would be most appropriate in the given circumstance".
The party sought "immediate registration of FIR and his arrest along with other BJP workers". It also sought "stern action" against BJP and its PM candidate Modi, including derecognition of the party, for the alleged violation of mode of conduct.
Congress leader Satyavrat Chautvedi said that BJP, which had accused Congress of communalism over the meeting between Sonia Gandhi and Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, should answer whether it considers Shah`s speech as "communal and provocative or one which promotes amity".
Party candidate and spokesperson Raj Babbar accused both SP and BJP of trying to divide the people of Uttar Pradesh on religious lines.
The BJP, however, defended Shah`s remarks, with spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman saying he has actually captured the "mood of the nation".
Shah, who is Narendra Modi`s close aide, stoked a controversy by saying that the current election was an opportunity to take "revenge for the insult" during the violence in Muzaffarnagar last year.
BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also saw nothing wrong in Shah`s remarks.
"UP government has insulted the people there. It is not a question of Hindus and Muslims. Those who went there for secular tourism have insulted the people. Instead of putting balm on the wounds of the victims, they sprinkled salt. Revenge should be taken for this insult," he said.
The Samajwadi Party said that Shah`s remarks vindicated what it had always said that Modi and his aides "are fascists".
"They cannot tolerate anyone else. To say that a democratically elected government will be dismissed shows they believers of fascism and these kind of people are never elected.
"BJP is frustrated as they will not get the kind of result they were expecting in Uttar Pradesh.... Let them dare to dismiss the SP government, " SP leader Ramgopal Yadav said.
JD(U) leader K C Tyagi said, "These words are hateful. In a democracy you can talk about change through vote only. Amit Shah`s language is that of a dictator and he is scaring the minority community of UP".
"Through Aamit Shah, Modi wants to orchestrate communal riots in UP and the entire country. This kind of language signifies that Shah indulges in communal polarisation while Modi wears teh mask of development," BSP leader Sudhindra Bhadoria said.