The electoral heat seems to have pushed the politicians to a new low. In what may be seen as an all-out effort to score political points, the remarks by the political leaders in the fray against their rivals are getting nastier with each passing day. With personal attacks becoming the order of the day, the political rhetoric has hit the rock bottom. The latest to join the list is Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan who has kicked up a row with his Kargil remark. As sultry as this election season feels, the political leaders remain unapologetic about their ‘language’ against rivals.
As the poll season heats up, we take a look at some of the controversial statements by the political leaders during the election campaign that made the headlines
Azam Khan, Kargil remark: Azam Khan dragged the Kargil conflict into the ongoing high voltage Lok Sabha campaign, saying it was “Muslim soldiers” who fought for India’s victory in the 1999 Kargil war against Pakistan. “Those who fought for victory in Kargil were not Hindu soldiers, in fact the ones who fought for our victory were Muslim soldiers,” he said in a speech laced with communal overtones during an election rally in Ghaziabad on Tuesday night. Khan also went on to say that no one can guard the country’s borders better than those from the Muslim community. “Recruit us in the Indian Army. No one can guard the borders of our nation better than us,” he said.
Azam Khan, Goonda remark: The controversy-prone SP leader Azam Khan called BJP general secretary Amit Shah a “goonda” (thug) and “qatil” (killer). He also described BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as an “enemy of the Muslims”. Khan was campaigning for the party’s Ghaziabad candidate, Sudhan Rawat, in the Muslim-dominated Masuri area. Referring to Shah as “Goonda No. 1”, Khan said, “Humari majboori hai use goonda kehne ki, kisi qatil ko sharif nahi kaha ja sakta. (I am forced to call him a thug. A killer cannot be called a gentleman).” Khan also said Modi was responsible for the 2002 Gujarat riots. Stating that the man who had referred to Muslims as “puppies” could “never work for the benefit of Muslims”, Khan said Modi’s policies would only serve to divide Hindus and Muslims.
Amit Shah, revenge remarks: BJP in-charge of poll campaign, Amit Shah triggered a controversy when during a meeting with Jat community leaders in Muzaffarnagar, he said, “This election is about voting out the government that protects and gives compensation to those who killed Jats. It is about badla (revenge) and protecting izzat (honour).” He repeated that while a man could live without food and water, “apmaan ka badla to lena hoga (an insult has to be avenged)”.
Imran Masood, ‘chop’ Modi remark: Congress Lok Sabha candidate Imran Masood was sent to jail for 14 days as he was seen threatening BJP PM nominee Narendra Modi. In a video that went viral on the web, Masood threatened to “chop” Modi “into pieces”, a remark that led to an FIR being filed against him on March 28 besides sparking an outrage. He was subsequently arrested on March 29. Masood was booked under section 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting religion or religious beliefs), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC, Section 125 (promoting enmity between classes in connection with election) of Representation of People Act, and 310 SC/ST Act.
Vasundhara Raje: During a public meeting at Karoli, Rajasthan on April 5, Vasundhara Raje Scindia allegedly made a statement saying, “Chunav ho janedo, dekhenge kiske tukde honge (Let the polls be over. We will see who is cut into pieces.)” Following her statement, Congress lodged a complaint with the Election Commission for violation of the model code of conduct.
Sharad Pawar, mental hospital remark: In a no-holds-barred attack on BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said Narendra Modi needs to be “treated in a mental hospital” for talking “rubbish”. At a rally in Ghanswangi in Maharashtra, the Maratha strongman said: “Modi must have deranged as he talks rubbish things and he is needed to be treated in a mental hospital.”
Beni Prasad Verma, biggest goonda remark: Union steel minister Verma had on April 1 stoked a controversy by dubbing Narendra Modi as the “biggest goonda” (goon) of RSS as the language being used by him in elections is not normally used in a democracy. “Modi could not have become prime ministerial candidate without the nod of Rajnath Singh. This proves that Rajnath Singh is not the president of the party but Modi’s slave (ghulam),” Verma had said.