As the Election Commission suspended four top political leaders for a few days over their campaign speeches that allegedly “contaminated” the poll process, two new speech videos emerged which the Opposition flagged for alleged hateful and abusive content.
Delivered on Sunday by BJP chiefs of Himachal Pradesh and Kerala, these speeches triggered complaints to the Election Commission. While Himachal BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti referred to a purported Facebook post to use the word “ma……d” in the context of Rahul Gandhi, his Kerala counterpart made a derogatory reference to Muslims.
Addressing a meeting of BJP workers at Ramshehar in Solan district which falls under the Shimla (SC) Lok Sabha constituency, Satti said Sunday: “Manch ke upar se Narendra Modiji ko chor bol rahe hain. Chowkidar chor hai. Bhaiya teri ma ki zamaanat hui hai. Teri apni zamaanat hui hai. Tere jije ki zamaanat hui hai. Narendra Modi ki na zamaanat hui, na case bana, na kisi ne saza di. Tu kaun hota hai judge ki tarah chor bolne wala (Onstage, he has been calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a thief. He has been saying chowkidar chor hai…Rahul, you are on bail, your mother’s on bail, your brother-in-law’s on bail. There’s no case against Modi, no verdict…Who is Rahul Gandhi to call Modi a thief as if he’s a judge)?”
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Satti then said that BJP spokesman Randhir Sharma had drawn his attention to a Facebook post written by a “Punjabi man” who had abused Rahul Gandhi. “Sharma said he couldn’t read it out to me since we cannot use derogatory language against Rahul Gandhi who is a national leader…After I insisted, Randhir Sharma asked me to read the Facebook post myself and see that people are angrier with the Congress than we are.”
Satti read from a note: “Usne likha hai ki agar is desh ka chowkidar chor hai, agar tu bolta hai toh tu ma……d hai (The Facebook user has written that if the watchman of this country is a thief, if you say that then you are a ma……d”
A statement by the state Congress Monday said that Satti’s abusive remarks against Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi were “highly defamatory and against women’s dignity” and in “gross violation” of the guidelines laid down by the EC. State Congress Committee General Secretary Rajneesh Kimta said that a police complaint had also been filed.
Shimla Superintendent of Police Omapati Jamwal said: “We have received the complaint. We are currently studying the contents of the complaint. Only after that we will be able to take any action if required.”
Satti said: “I was only recalling a conversation with (BJP spokesperson Randhir Sharma) in which someone had written against Rahul Gandhi. I will not apologise to Rahul Gandhi because I didn’t say anything against him. I only read out a social media post. Instead, Rahul Gandhi should apologise to our party for calling Modi ji chor…Congress must present the full video where I have used the example of Rahul Gandhi to tell our workers not to use derogatory language against any political figure on social media.”
Meanwhile, chief of BJP’s Kerala unit P S Sreedharan Pillai, speaking in Attingal Sunday while releasing the party’s local election manifesto, referred to the Balakot strike and said: “When our forces came back to the country after risking their life, our Rahul Gandhi, Sitaram Yechury and Pinarayi Vijayan are demanding they (security forces) should get down and check those killed…their country, their caste and their religion. If they were Muslims, they can be easily identified. If you undress them, you can make out (if they are Muslim).”
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said Pillai had insulted the Muslim community and the remarks are meant to create communal polarisation.
Indian Union Muslim League general secretary P K Kunhalikutty said the party dismissed Pillai’s comment with disgust.
When contacted, Pillai said there was nothing wrong in his statement. “How the identification process is being held…I was referring to Pak terrorists. It did not amount to insult to Muslims. Why Congress and CPI(M) leaders should get agitated over it? I will take legal action against the leaders who have raised the issue,’’ he said.
CPI(M) Thiruvananthapuram district secretary Anavoor Nagappan has complained to the Election Commission and the local police against Pillai.