In an election when parties are trying to divide votes on communal grounds, it was necessary for Election Commission to tighten its grip over the hate- mongers. It was started with a hate speech by Imran Masood of Congress who escaped the wrath of Election Commission.
However, the recent hate speech by Amit Shah of BJP and Azam Khan of SP has forced the Election Commission to send notices to the leaders. Amit Shah talked about “revenge” in the riot hit village in western Uttar Pradesh but on receiving the notice from Election Commission, has acknowledged that he may have erred in his choice of expressions. Besides, he gave an undertaking that he would not use abusive or derogatory language in the campaign and would not indulge in any act that would be deemed a violation of model code of conduct. Election Commission thereafter lifted the ban and allowed him to attend meetings and rallies in UP. Has the Election Commission been far too soft on Amit Shah ?
The EC revoked its order barring BJP General Secretary Amit Shah from campaigning in UP and a similar ban on Azam Khan is likely to stay. After several meetings, they came around to the view that Amit Shah deserved leniency and not Azam Khan. At the same time, the EC made it clear to Shah that he was being given a second chance to show that he adheres to the provisions of the model code. However, the EC is unlikely to reconsider the ban on Khan, reason being that Khan despite having received EC’s notice, continued to make inflammatory and provocative speeches.
Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan has ruled out an apology for his alleged hate speech and questioned EC for lifting a ban on his campaigning like it did for Amit Shah. Hitting out at the poll panel for lifting the ban on Amit Shah and not granting him similar relief he will move to Supreme Court against its order barring him from campaigning in UP. The Samajwadi Party leadership seems to be constitutionally illiterate since our Constitution has given supreme power to the Election Commission in all matters related with free, fair and peaceful election. Then why they are thinking to move the matter in the Supreme Court ? Aren’t Samajwadi Party trying to denigrate the Election Commission ?
Azam Khan is unfazed by the ban imposed on him by the Election Commission and continues to inflame passion and hate in his speeches. Azam Khan, the heavyweight leader of Samajwadi Party, is in no mood to apologize and showing no signs of regret instead continued from attack to playing victim. Political observers feel when openly communal statements have been made by its party leaders repeatedly, why is there no action against Samajwadi Party? What does a mere ‘ban’ on an individual amount to? Has the Election Commission come out looking weak, confused and largely ineffective in a communally charged atmosphere? Is the poll panel losing its teeth?
The crux of the matter is that both these parties have strategically polarized the voting pattern specially in the parts of western Uttar Pradesh. Political observers claim that both SP-BJP are playing dangerous communal politics in U.P. and there is no condemnation from any of the parties’ higher ranks rather they are defending their leaders and indulging in same. Parties are accused of having polarized and communalised the U.P. election campaign. The referee is rightly playing safe and just pushing the matter straight restraining the two warring groups from playing poisonous game.