BJP leader Anurag Thakur was campaigning in North West Delhi
Union Minister Anurag Thakur was caught on camera at an election rally in Delhi on Monday, chanting the first half of a slogan that concludes with a call to gun down traitors. In a widely-shared video, Mr Thakur, who was campaigning for the BJP candidate in North West Delhi, can be seen and heard chanting "desh ke gaddaron ko", to which the crowd enthusiastically replied "goli maaro sa***n ko"; the entire chant translates to "shoot down the traitors who betray the country".
Reacting to the news, BJP sources have claimed the second part of the slogan - "goli maaro sa***n ko (shoot down the traitors)" slogan was actually shouted by the crowd, although in the video shared online it appears the chant was a direct response to Mr Thakur's slogan.
The video also appears to show Mr Thakur unfazed by the crowd's response.
Election Commission officials have told NDTV a video of the speech - made at Rithala constituency - has been received and is being examined. "Necessary action" will be taken, said the constituency's Returning Officer, who also noted that prima facie the candidate, Manish Chaudhary, had been present on stage when the slogan was being chanted.
However, the officer would not comment on the particulars of the action that could be taken against Anurag Thakur, apart from saying that if such a slogan was indeed raised, a response will be sought from the concerned person(s) through a notice.
The full slogan has been heard at pro-Citizenship Amendment Act rallies as well.
Last month, BJP leader Kapil Mishra, who served a 48-hour campaigning ban over the weekend for tweets Delhi Police said were "creating enmity among classes", appeared to chant the same slogan during a march in support of the controversial law.
Mr Mishra, a former AAP leader who left the party after making corruption allegations against Arvind Kejriwal, has a history of making communal and incendiary comments and is the BJP's candidate from Model Town constituency.
According to reports, the slogan was also heard during the attack on students and staff of Delhi's prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) earlier this month, in which 34 were injured.
According to news agency ANI the slogan was also heard at a pro-CAA rally in Maharashtra's Nagpur last month, at which people were waving the BJP flag.
The chanting of the slogan has been criticised by the Congress's Kirti Azad, who is the head of the opposition party's campaign committee. Mr Azad was quoted by news agency PTI as saying the BJP are the "real traitors" as they are working to "destroy" peace and amity.
Delhi will vote to fill its 70-member assembly on February 8 with results due February 11. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), currently in power, will hope to replicate its massive victory from five years earlier, when it claimed 67 of those seats, leaving only three for the BJP and none for the Congress.
With input from ANI, PTI