Azam goes the Amit Shah way

Senior Samajwadi Party leader and Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan on Wednesday did an Amit Shah by urging voters to avenge the murderers of Muzaffarnagar.

Asked voters not to hand over the country’s reins to a ‘murderer’ while campaigning for SP’s nominee here Azam Khan said, ‘The country must not be given to the hands of a murderer ... the murderers of Muzaffarnagar should be avenged by pressing the button.’

‘We don’t have to allow a person with a blot to become the ‘badshah’ (king) of Hindustan,’ he said in a veiled reference to BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

Earlier, Narendra Modi’s close aide Amit Shah had spoken of the current election being an opportunity to take ‘revenge for the insult’ during the violence in Muzaffarnagar last year.

‘In Uttar Pradesh, especially western UP, it is an election for honour. It is an election to take revenge for the insult. It an an election to teach a lesson to those who have committed injustice,’ Amit Shah had told a meeting of community leaders.

The BJP leader’s controversial speech came under attack from political parties for vitiating the atmosphere in the region, which witnessed one of the worst communal riots between Jats and Muslims in September last year.

Two FIRs were lodged against him for the speech and the Election Commission issued notice to him for prima facie violation of the model code of conduct.

The EC asked the BJP leader to explain within three days as to why action should not be initiated against him for violating the model code through his speeches made while campaigning in Shamli, Bijnore and Muzaffarnagar districts in the state.

Earlier in the day, Azam Khan was in the eye of a storm over his remarks on the Kargil war, with the Election Commission warning of ‘strict action’ if he was found guilty of violating the Model Code of Conduct.

As political parties slammed Khan for saying that it was ‘Muslim soldiers’ who fought for India’s victory in the 1999 Kargil war against Pakistan, his party reacted cautiously, saying it could be reflection of some dissatisfaction over ‘unfulfilled aspirations’.

EC officials said they are studying the video of the speech made on Tuesday.

‘We are examining the 30-minute video speech of Azam Khan on Kargil War and other issues. We have started probe and if he is found guilty, strict action would be taken against him,’ said a senior poll official in Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh.

Demanding strong action against the SP leader, BJP said his remarks were an ‘insult to the bravery of the soldiers’ and the ‘communal comment by Azam Khan during the elections shows the politics of communalism’. 

Party spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said, ‘It is an attempt to communalise national security’.
Trivedi’s colleague Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was a matter of ‘great regret’ that ‘secularism is being sacrificed on the alter of communalism’ It is certainly harming the country and the real secular spirit of the nation.’

SP leader senior minister Shivpal Singh Yadav said Khan would have been pointing towards ‘pain and neglect’ of a section in the society.

‘In the army as well as during the freedom struggle all including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians were one and fought together and achieved success with the support of all,’ he said.

‘But when any one section of society is neglected it feels the pain, when the aspirations are not fulfilled they feel the pain. He could have made his thoughts public but the Samajwadi Party, including him (Khan) are one for the nation as well as society,’ Yadav said.

Congress spokesman and Union Minister Anand Sharma, while condemning Khan’s remarks as the ‘most unfortunate’, said ‘No responsible Indian will make such a statement... Those who died (in the Kargil conflict) were sons of this country and they fought as Indians’.

Insisting that Indian Army cannot be divided on religious and communal lines, Sharma said it was for the EC to take cognisance in the matter.

Deploring Khan’s remarks, RSS leader Ram Madhav said there is no need to point out the religion of a soldier as all of them fight as Indians.

‘However, some people probably think on those lines (communal lines) and make such kind of statements,’ he said.

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