Lucknow: BJP's Uttar Pradesh in-charge Amit Shah has been booked for his remarks exhorting a gathering to seek "revenge for the insult" inflicted during the riots in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh last year. The FIR was registered late on Sunday after the Election Commission examined tapes of Mr Shah's speech on Thursday at a rally in Shamli, one of the worst-affected in the communal riots that ripped through several areas of western UP.
Over 60 people were killed and nearly 40,000 were displaced in the clashes between Jats and Muslims in September last.
"The elections in Uttar Pradesh, especially in western Uttar Pradesh, is an election for honour, for seeking revenge for the insult, and for teaching a lesson to those who committed injustice," Mr Shah had told a gathering of Jats. The 50-year-old was flanked by BJP legislator Suresh Rana, who is one of those accused of inciting the communal tension.
The Congress, which has been accused by the BJP of "blatant communalism" and "polarising" voters after it received the controversial backing of a top Muslim religious leader on Friday, promptly hit back. (After controversial Sonia meeting, Congress scores Shahi Imam's support)
"The language used by Amit Shah in a communally-sensitive area like Muzaffarnagar to incite people, can't they see communalism in it," said Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi.
A police case has also been registered against Mr Shah for allegedly making a hate speech in Bijnor on Friday.
"We got a report and an FIR was filed against Amit Shah. The summary of the speech violates the model code of conduct," said Umesh Sinha, Chief Electoral Officer of Uttar Pradesh.
"Amit Shah called a BJP meeting in a farmhouse. They had taken permission for the meeting but there Mr Shah gave instigating speeches, we are investigating," said Rajesh Kumar, Circle Officer, Bijnor.
Mr Shah's party, the BJP, slammed the Uttar Pradesh government for the FIR and said it is rank abuse of police powers. "This is being done deliberately by UP government due to vote bank politics," said BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Mr Shah, a close aide of BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, faces charges of murder in connection with a fake encounter case while he was a minister in Gujarat. But his proven talent in winning elections saw the BJP entrusting him with handling the campaign in Uttar Pradesh, from where Mr Modi will fight his first parliamentary election. (Full coverage: Elections)