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Notice to Shah over ‘revenge’ remark

Amit Shah

Lucknow, April 7: The Election Commission today issued a notice to Amit Shah for prima facie violation of the model code of conduct, taking note of his alleged “revenge” remark while campaigning in riot-affected areas of Uttar Pradesh.

The key Narendra Modi aide has been asked to explain by Wednesday evening why action should not be initiated against him, sources said.

Umesh Sinha, chief electoral officer of Uttar Pradesh, had yesterday sent to the poll panel a preliminary report and a CD of the alleged speech by Shah, who is in charge of BJP affairs in the state.

The notice served to Shah said that he had “prima facie violated provisions of the model code of conduct that restrain parties and candidates from any activity that may trigger communal hatred, damage reputation of individual or rival party”.

It added: “The commission thus gives you an opportunity to explain your stand by 5pm on April 9, 2014, failing which the ECI shall take a decision without further reference to you.”

State police had yesterday registered an FIR against Shah, booking him under the Indian Penal Code’s Section 153A (inciting people) and Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act (promoting enmity between classes).

On April 3, Shah had allegedly exhorted Jats in Muzaffarnagar to use the elections as an opportunity to seek “revenge” for the riots that erupted in September last year, killing some 60 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

This election, especially in western Uttar Pradesh, is “an election for honour”, Shah had allegedly said.

“It is an election to take revenge for the insult. It is an election to teach a lesson to those who have committed injustice,” he was quoted as saying.

The BJP has condemned the filing of the FIR, saying the move was “not bona fide” and was a “calculated design” to communalise and polarise the election scene in Uttar Pradesh. The Congress has condemned Shah’s alleged remark.