Taking note of the "revenge" remark made by Narendra Modi's close aide Amit Shah while campaigning in riot-affected areas of Uttar Pradesh, the Election Commission on Monday issued notice to him for prima facie violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
It asked the Bharatiya Janata Party leader to explain within three days as to why action should not be initiated against him for violating the model code through his speeches made while campaigning in Shamli, Bijnore and Muzaffarnagar districts in the state.
"The commission is, prima facie, of the opinion that by making the aforesaid statement you have violated the.... provisions of Model Code of Conduct...."Now, therefore, the Commission gives you an opportunity to explain your stand in making the above said statement before 5 pm on April 9, 2014 failing which the ECI shall take a decision without further reference to you," the EC notice said.
The notice referred to provisions of the model code that provide that 'no party or candidate shall indulge in any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic' and that parties and candidates shall refrain from criticism of all aspects of private life, not connected with the public activities of the leaders or workers of the parties.
Shah triggered a controversy with his comment that the general elections, especially in western Uttar Pradesh, is "an election for honour. It is an election to take revenge for the insult.
It is an election to teach a lesson to those who have committed injustice". Two first information reports were lodged against Shah on Sunday by the authorities in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP has condemned the filing of the FIRs in Bijnore and Muzaffarnagar districts, saying they were "not bonafide" and that it was a "calculated design" to communalise and polarise the election scenario in UP.
The Congress has condemned Shah's remark and rejected the BJP's defence of it as "flagrant crude defence and justification of communalism".