When Amit Shah – the closest confidante of Narendra Modi was given the charge of Uttar Pradesh, India’s decisive state in terms of national elections, everyone was quick to predict that this was a very crucial and strategic move by BJP and Modi. BJP and Narendra Modi in wake of the elections had decided that they will keep its image and agenda of Hindutva alive but a little hidden, with major emphasis on economy and development to cash in on the anti-incumbency of the ruling UPA. But almost nothing remains hidden in this age of media that has its reach everywhere.
Soon after Amit Shah took over UP as the in-charge on the behalf of his party, he initiated his new role by visiting Ayodhya, the birth place of Ram. There, after praying for the party’s victory, Shah also made a resolution to build a majestic Ram Mandir. After that he visited popular temples and met with different Hindu religious heads and the people who were allegedly involved in Babri Masjid demolition. It needed no rocket science that Amit Shah was trying to revive the base in UP with its major agenda of Hindutva to woo the voters.
Eyeing around 50 seats, BJP and its ground force has done anything and everything to hold the ground after almost 15 years. Amit Shah himself has held rallies in UP consolidating its voter base ranging from Brahmins to Jats. Amit Shah was even banned by the Election Commission last month for his hate speech in Bijnour, UP when he was talking to the Jat community and urged them to vote for BJP so that they take revenge. This speech by Amit Shah was taken in the context of the Muzaffarnagar riots trying to spread hatred among the two communities. EC also directed to file FIR against Shah who was banned from rallying or holding any other public meetings in UP.
After apologising for his comments, the ban was lifted after some days which came as a relief for this leader at a crucial time of campaigning. Then there were speeches by other leaders like Giriraj Singh, Praveen Tagodia etc who further cleared the much created air about the basic agenda of BJP.
Although Amit Shah apologised for his comments but that did not prevent him from another controversy. Amit Shah in another rally in Sagri said that Azamgarh in UP is a base of terrorists, that also has now erupted in a huge controversy with some sections of the society and different politicians coming strongly against this statement. While Mayawati rebutted to Shah’s comment saying that “Amit Shah’s ‘terrorizing’ remarks can affect the law and order situation in Azamgarh. I want to appeal to the EC to take similar action as they did in the past. He shouldn’t be allowed into UP. His comments can spark unfortunate incidents in UP.”
The Chief Minister of UP and other leaders of Congress have also reacted sharply to this and asked the Election Commission to take cognizance of the matter and punish Amit Shah accordingly. All the leaders have said that it is a completely wrong thing to generalise things in such a way, even if some people have done wrong from any place, you cannot put the blame and draw opinions as a whole that too when Azamgarh has remained largely peaceful in all these years.
While this is seen as a pure tactic to polarise voters on these pretexts, the BJP has been left red-faced with statements like these becoming a daily affair. BJP and Narendra Modi, who have so far tried to show that their complete focus is on the real issues like economy, development, security, are again in the doubt realm within the people who had thought that it has come out of its Hindutva agenda and image.
With BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi daring the EC to act against him, it would definitely beinteresting to see whether the EC takes any stern action against Modi’s closest aide or not. But many minds across the country have got one message clear enough that appearances might change for sometime but the basic inner core remains the same.