The Election Commission on Friday said there was "nothing particularly wrong" in the speech of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Amit Shah in which he reportedly described Azamgarh as "a base of terrorists".
"I have seen the speech myself...he only said Azamgarh. We found nothing much. Our people have also seen the video. There is nothing particularly wrong in what he said," Election Commissioner H S Brahma said.
"We have given him (Shah) permission to speak and campaign again only after he had had expressed regret over his last statements and he promised to us that he will not do it again," he said during an interaction with Indian Women Press Corps.
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Responding to questions, the Commissioner said there were adequate provisions in the Representation of the People Act to check the menace of 'hate speeches'.
The law clearly says that party candidates and leaders cannot make speeches in the name of caste, creed or community. "Honestly, as a citizen, I would say we don't expect from anyone to speak such a kind of thing...that will hurt the feeling of someone," he said.
Brahma said that from among the about 1,600 registered political parties in the country, "less than half-a-dozen" are indulging in violation of the law and deliverance of hate speeches.
"Only 3-4 parties are battle hardened (in violating election laws)," he said. Brahma also said "suddenly" use of muscle power, in booth capturing and attacking polling personnel, have re-appeared, though not on a very large scale. He enumerated recent instances of booth capturing and other poll related violence in parts of south India, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal.
"We have thought it (use of muscle power) had disappeared. But now we see it occurring in limited pockets. This needs to be nipped in the bud," he said.