`Vote for revenge` remark: Rajnath defends Shah, Congress seeks Modi aide`s arrest
Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Rajnath Singh on Saturday defended controversial remarks made by party`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi`s close aide Amit Shah, saying that his statement has been misinterpreted.
“It has been misinterpreted, Amit Shah ji did not say that,” Rajnath Singh said.
He was speaking to reporters about the issue after filling his nomination papers from Lucknow today, where he urged the carder to seek vote and support of people from all communities and religion.
Singh said that BJP was not contesting the election on a communal plank, and instead blamed the Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party.
"It`s the Congress, SP and BSP that are trying to play the communal card. We have never played the communal card nor would we," he added.
Shah has reportedly said in a recent election meeting in Muzaffarnagar that "This election is about voting out the government that protects and gives compensation to those who killed Jats. It is about `badla` (revenge) and protecting `izzat` (honour)."
He was accompanied by BJP legislator Suresh Rana, who was an accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots in which over 60 people, mostly Muslims, had died, while thousands were rendered homeless.
Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman used the opportunity to drag Congress president Sonia Gandhi into the controversy over her appeal to Shahi Imam of Delhi`s Jama Masjid, contending that the attempt to polarise the elections had been initiated by the "so-called secular" party.
She added, “ Sonia Gandhi also seeking vote on religious grounds. The attempt of polarizing the vote was initiated by the so-called secular parties. We see nothing wrong in Amit Shah`s statement."
"There has been lot of discussion on what Amit Shah has said in a public meeting in Muzaffarnagar. He actually captured the mood of nation," Sitharaman said.
She said even UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has been heard seeking votes on caste base.
"He has admitted in Assembly that more than 250 communal violence has been occurred in UP under his regime," the BJP spokesperson said.
Seeing nothing wrong in Shah`s remarks, BJP vice president and Muslim face Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "UP government has insulted the people there. It is not a question of Hindus and Muslims. Those who went there for secular tourism, they have insulted the people. Instead of putting balm on the wounds of the victims, they sprinkled salt. Revenge should be taken for this insult."
Attacking Shah for his "provocative hate speech", the Congress complained to the Election Commission today.
The Congress sought his arrest and asked the panel to ban him from campaigning for "creating animosity between communities" in western Uttar Pradesh.
The party also demanded "stern action" against the BJP and Modi, including de-recognition of the party, for the alleged violation of the model code of conduct.
"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 told reporters.
"We will make a demand to the state government and election commission that a criminal case is lodged against Amit Shah and Muzaffarnagar riots accused (legislator) Suresh Rana and they should be prevented from campaigning in any part of the country. There should be a complete ban (on them)."
The party said Amit Shah committed an offence under section 125 of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951, which calls for the immediate registration of an FIR and his arrest.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also went to the poll panel, seeking action against the former Gujarat minister for spreading communal hatred.
"The EC should not allow such elements to create hatred at such a sensitive juncture, when the country is in the midst of a general election. The remarks openly incite people of one community to take revenge against another religious community and cannot be allowed to go unpunished.
"It should immediately order registration of a criminal case against the BJP`s national general secretary Amit Shah for his inflammatory remarks aimed at spreading communal hatred," the AAP said in a statement.
A complaint to the poll panel and minorities commission was also filed by Delhi-based lawyer and activist Shehzad Poonawalla.
The Janata Dal-United also condemned Amit Shah`s remark, saying it was a "warning to all regional parties that if by mistake Modi becomes PM, then all state governments will be dismissed".
JD-U national spokesperson KC Tyagi said: "Saying `apmaan ke badle apmaan` is highly objectionable."
Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav said: "Nobody in India can pull down a democratically elected majority government. The BJP leader seems to be ignorant about how strong the Indian democracy is."
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