Ever since a landslide victory in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Amit Shah – BJP president and a close confidant of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – has led the saffron party to wins in the majority of states. In the run-up to Lok Sabha polls 2019, Shah has managed to keep the alliance intact with disgruntled partners like SAD and the Shiv Sena.
Shah is contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Gandhinagar. The declaration of Shah’s candidature from Gandhinagar marks the symbolic end of the Advani-era in the BJP, and in Indian politics. In the vitriol-filled campaign, Shah has traded barbs with the Opposition more than once, targetting them over Balakot airstrike, Hindu terrorism, Jai Shri Ram slogan among others. A look at some of his quotes from this election season
Stepping up his attack on Rahul Gandhi, BJP president Amit Shah likened Wayanad – the second seat from where the Congress president is contesting – to Pakistan. “Aur yeh Rahul Baba apne gathbandhan ke liye, Keral ke andar aisi seat par jaakar khade juloos nikalta hai toh Bharat hai ya Pakistan ka juloos hai. Maloom hi nahin padta, aisi jagah jaake khade hain.”
Read | Amit Shah interview
“(And this Rahul Baba, for the sake of his alliance, has gone to such a seat in Kerala where when a procession is taken out, you cannot make out whether it is India or a Pakistan procession. You cannot make out, to such a seat he has gone).” This was an apparent reference to a large number of IUML flags seen when Gandhi had filed his nomination.
In a 2-1 majority, the EC cleared Shah’s speech of alleged model code violation.
* On NRC
Describing infiltrators as “termites”, Amit Shah said the BJP would implement NRC in West Bengal. Addressing an election rally in Raiganj, Shah said the BJP government will throw out every infiltrator from the country. “We have promised in the manifesto that the next BJP government will implement NRC in Bengal just like in Assam. I want to tell Mamata di that use all your strength, but you will not be able to stop us from beginning NRC here. She is misleading the people about NRC saying all refugees will be thrown out. Illegal migrants are like termites and we will single out every Bangladeshi infiltrator in West Bengal and throw them out. We will give citizenship to all Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and Jain refugees.”
Amit Shah and Mamata Banerjee locked horns again over the Balakot strike. Addressing a rally in Krishnanagar, the BJP chief said, “Apko (Mamata) Pakistan ke saath ilu ilu (I love you) karna hain toh kijiye. Lekin agar Pakistan goli marega toh hum gola marenge’ (If you are interested in showing love with Pakistan, you can do that but we would respond to their bullets with canon balls).” Attacking TMC, Shah said the party today stands for “tustikaran (appeasement), mafia and chit funds.”
* Will remove Article 370
On the scrapping of Article 370, the BJP leader said, “Ye kehte hain ki Bharat ke andar 370 dhara rehna chahiye. Mujhe batao Kashmir se 370 dhara hatani chahiye ya nahi chahiye? Modi ji ne tay kiya hain ki BJP ki sarkar banegi toh Kashmir se 370 dhara hata denge. (They (Opposition) say that Article 370 must remain in the country. Tell me whether Article 370 be removed from Kashmir or not? Modi ji has decided that Article 370 will be removed from Kashmir once BJP government is formed at the Centre).”
Drumming up support under the narrative of national security, BJP chief Amit Shah in Gujarat said post the Balakot airstrike, the only place that was mourning after Pakistan was the Congress party. “Entire Pakistan was beating their chests and crying. They should be crying…The second place that was mourning —as if they had lost a member of their family — was at Congress office. Rahul Baba could not even smile. I can not understand, why the atmosphere in Congress office was similar to that in Pakistan… Should we be talking to them or rain bombs and take revenge from those terrorists who killed 40 of our jawans. Tell me what we should be doing? Tell me loudly what should have been done,” Shah asked the audience who replied “revenge” in unison.
* ‘Modi had sent IAF to destroy terror camps in Pakistan after Pulwama tragedy’
Continuing to appeal voters by invoking Balakot airstrike, Shah in a rally in West Bengal said only Prime Minister Narendra Modi could ensure the security of the country and his party’s policy “is to give a tit-for-tat reply to Pakistan”. “Forty-four of jawans were martyred in Pulwama terror attack. Earlier, nothing used to happen after such incidents. Narendra Modi ordered his Air Force on the 13th day (of the incident) and our aircraft blew the terrorists to pieces in Pakistan,” Shah said at a rally in West Bengal’s Krishnangar.
The EC gave a clean chit to this speech as well saying that it found no violation of the model code.
* Will Lord Ram’s name be taken in Pakistan, if not in India
In an attack against Mamata Banerjee, Shah said, “Lord Ram is a part of the culture of India… Can anybody stop people from taking his name? I want to ask Mamata didi if Shri Ram’s name is not taken in India, will it be chanted in Pakistan.” He also dared the West Bengal CM to arrest him for chanting the slogan.
* Attacking Congress over ‘Hindu terror’ tag
Attacking Rahul Gandhi over the term “Hindu terror“, Shah accused the Congress chief of “defaming” Hindus by calling them “terrorists.”Saare log nirdosh chuth gaye. Puri duniya mein Hindu samuday ko badnam karne ka kaam kiya Rahul Babu and Company ne. Hindu terror, Hindu atankvaad… Hindu kabhi terrorist ho sakta hai kya? Jo chinti humme kaat ti hai, who chinti ko bhi atta khilane ka kaam yeh Hindu karta hai. Hindu kisiko marta nahin hai. Apni vote bank ki raksha ke liye, Hindu terror ki gaali Hindu samuday par lagayi hai. (All the accused have been acquitted, Rahul Gandhi and his party defamed Hindus across the world in the name of Hindu terror. Can Hindus be terrorist? A Hindu feeds flour even to an ant that stings him. To protect their vote bank, they abused Hindus with the tag of terrorist),” Shah told the crowd.
* Kangla Bangla
In a jibe against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Amit Shah said the Trinamool chief has turned Sonar (golden) Bangla into “Kangal (pauper) Bangla”. In a poll rally at Canning, Shah said, “She (Mamata) is only interested in protecting infiltrators to secure her vote bank. But her vote bank won’t be able to save her from imminent defeat.” TMC’s Derek O’Brien hot back calling Shah “puke-worthy”
* ‘Like phoenix, BJP will rise from ashes of poll defeats’
Speaking to booth workers in Raipur, Shah said the party was akin to the phoenix that would rise from the ashes of the election defeats in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. “The BJP will rise like a phoenix in MP. The BJP has not lost because it got more votes,” he said.