Indian Express

BJP’s campaign in UP suffers blow after EC ban on Amit Shah

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Amit Shah Amit Shah

The ELECTION Commission’s decision to ban BJP general secretary Amit Shah from holding public meetings, processions, rallies and road shows in UP is set to affect the party’s poll strategy in the state where he was made in-charge in order to strengthen the cadre.

As Shah is the main strategist for the party’s Lok Sabha election campaign and poll management here, he was supposed to hold meetings in all 80 constituencies in different phases of elections, a senior party leader said. Shah has addressed meetings in six Lok Sabha seats of western UP where the polling was held in the first phase.

According to party sources, Shah’s presence in public meetings and roadshows was required in certain Lok Sabha constituencies including Bareilly, Moradabad, Rampur, Firozabad, Kanpur, Allahabad, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Bahraich, Kaiserganj and Azamgarh. In Varanasi, Shah was to lead the party poll campaign and management as Narendra Modi is contesting there. Shah had inaugurated Modi’s election office there on April 1.

Party sources said UP minister Azam Khan had been Shah’s target and he had announced that he would start his stint as UP in-charge with a ‘Jail Bharo’ campaign from Rampur in June 2013 which was cancelled later.

Shah had offered prayers at a makeshift Ram temple in Ayodhya and local leaders in Faizabad wanted his presence in campaigning as it could polarise voters in  adjoining Ambedkar Nagar constituency also. Party leaders were expecting a strong polarisation in Azamgarh also if Shah were to campaign there. SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav is contesting from Azamgarh.

After the UP police registered FIRs against Shah in Shamli and Bijnor on charges of hate speech, Shah cancelled his tour to Varanasi, which was scheduled on April 9 and 10. He was to hold meeting regarding Modi’s poll preparations.

“The party has so far not received programme of his visit in constituencies where polling is scheduled on April 17,” said a party leader.

He also said Shah will be visiting these constituencies in the coming days, but his programme would now be limited to closed-door meetings with selected party leaders who will convey his message to workers.

Shah is known as a leader of organisational skills in the party and not an orator. Except closed-door meetings, he usually avoids delivering speeches in public meetings.
Modi’s first rally in Kanpur last year was the only public meeting where Shah addressed the gathering.

Shah requests EC to lift ban order

NEW DELHI: BJP general secretary Amit Shah is learnt to have requested the Election Commission to reconsider its order banning his participation in election rallies in UP. His request to the EC has been made separately along with his reply to the EC notice to him over alleged violation of the model code of conduct, party sources said. In his reply to the EC’s notice, Shah is learnt to have denied violating the model code of conduct, arguing that his speech was focussed at exhorting the electorate to take to ballot continued…

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