Even as it focuses on the development agenda, the Bharatiya Janata Party finds itself entangled in volley of anti-minority remarks by its affiliates. On Monday night, Shiv Sena leader Ramdas Kadam told the crowd at a major Shiv Sena-BJP rally in the city that when their prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi came to power, he would “teach Muslims a lesson.” The Shiv Sena is a key NDA ally.
The Election Commission has asked for a report on the speech. “If it turns out to be a hate speech, the Chief Electoral officer of Maharashtra can file an FIR without waiting for our response,” said Deputy Election Commissioner Sudhir Tripathi.
Just as Mr. Modi arrived on the stage, former MLA Mr. Kadam referred to the rioting between the police and Muslim groups in Azad Maidan in 2012.
“Five lakh Muslims had gathered at Azad Maidan. They attacked the police, burnt police vans, damaged the martyrs’ memorial and molested policewomen. When Narendra Modi comes to power he will teach such people a lesson,” he said in Marathi.Personal view: Sena
The Shiv Sena distanced itself from the speech. “These statements do not echo the sentiments of Bal Thackeray, Uddhav Thackeray and the Shiv Sena. It is his personal view,” the party said in a statement.
Mr. Kadam’s speech came just a day after a video surfaced showing Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia allegedly exhorting his followers not to allow Muslims to buy property in Hindu localities.
The BJP also has to contend with senior party leader Giriraj Singh’s statement that critics of Mr. Modi should go to Pakistan.