“Revenge call” lands BJP leader in trouble

The Uttar Pradesh police on Sunday lodged an FIR in Bijnore against BJP general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh Amit Shah for his alleged “hate speech” in Muzaffarnagar. Mr. Shah had reportedly asked Jats to avenge the killing of their community members in last year’s riots by voting for the BJP.

Mr. Shah has been booked under Section 153(A) of the Indian Penal Code (promoting enmity between different groups) and Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act (promoting enmity between classes in connection with election).

However, the FIR sparked a war of words between the Congress and the BJP. Throwing its weight behind Mr. Shah, the saffron party said it was the Congress which was communalising the elections by having its president Sonia Gandhi appeal to Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid to ensure against the division of “secular’’ votes. The Congress, in turn, described the BJP’s defence as a “flagrant and crude” justification. Congress sources added that the party president’s meeting with the Shahi Imam was a move by Ms. Gandhi to interact with the leadership of all faiths.

While there was no official word from the Election Commission on petitions filed against Mr. Shah by the Congress and the CPI(M), sources maintained that the matter was being examined.