Uzair Hasan Rizvi for BeyondHeadlines
When it comes to making speeches during the election campaign Indian politicians never miss the chances to make it inflammatory and incite hate and anger, sometimes on the basis of caste rather than religion.
Bhartiya Janta Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s most trusted aide and former stock-broker Amit Shah has done it again; Shah has been issued a notice from the Election Commission over his recent hate speech in the town of Bijnore in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Shah, while addressing a gathering of the Jat community in Bijnore asked the Jat community to avenge their insult, referring to the last year’s communal riots in Muzaffarnagar, where some people of the Jat community were also killed. Later, the local police also lodged an FIR against Shah for his hate speech.
Amit Shah, lieutenant of Narendra Modi has always been a controversial figure, his name first figured in 2005 for his role in hatching conspiracy to kill alleged terrorist Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausar Bi in Gujarat. He was charged with in what federal agencies claim was a staged encounter to eliminate Sohrabuddin.
In 2010, Central Bureau of Investigation charged Shah with murder, extortion, destruction of evidence and criminal conspiracy in the Sohrabuddin ‘fake’ encounter. Shah pleaded innocence and resigned from his post of Gujarat’s home minister.
In September 2013, a former top Gujarat policeman, DG Vanzara, released an explosive letter from prison accusing Shah of using dirty tactics in Gujarat.
In November 2013, Amit Shah was also implicated in a scandal dubbed ‘stalker gate’, in which Shah purportedly ordered police officers to trail a woman, ordering them to report every movement of her.
Amit Shah is said to be a close confidant of Narendra Modi, currently on bail, the Supreme Court has directed Shah to not to enter Gujarat where criminal investigations are going against him and he might influence the investigating team.
Amidst all these controversies surrounding Shah, last year he was appointed as chief strategist for Uttar Pradesh, where BJP is desperate to gain maximum seats if Modi wants to fulfill his dream of becoming the prime minister of India.
The Muzaffarnagar communal riots in September last year saw many parties jumping into the fray and try to polarize the votes, so did Shah, where BJP have fielded two candidates linked to Muzaffarnagar riots.
Some suggest that Shah has done the trick for BJP, because political parties are not talking of development in election campaigning’s in Uttar Pradesh but rather taking dig at each other and disrupting the communal chords with their speeches.
Once again BJP threw the dice back to the old policies of religion- based politics and that too just before when BJP released their manifesto talking of bringing back the issue of Ram Mandir, which was largely missing in the election campaigns.
In a country where allegations against politicians are common, Modi has always defended Shah as a victim of conspiracy. Amid a BJP election publicity portraying Modi as a corruption-free man, the charges against Shah have gone largely unmentioned.
(The author is a journalism student at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. Views expressed are personal.)