The public posture of BJP has been that this election is about development– Modi as PM for his record of development as Gujarat's Chief Minister. The reality however is that Modi has a record of development, that of the 2002 riots. It is therefore not surprising that as the elections are nearing, BJP's communal agenda is being brought out in public– from Modi in Nawada, Bihar and his aide and confidant Amit Shah in Shamli and Bijnore in western UP.
Amit Shah, former minister in the Modi cabinet in Gujarat is an accused in three murder cases. The Supreme Court had at one time barred him from entering Gujarat. He has been hand-picked by Modi to run his campaign in UP as out of the state's 80 MPs, only 10 are from BJP. Obviously, the policy of inciting riots and polarising various communities is the Gujarat model that Amit Shah is expected to replicate in western UP.
What did Amit Shah say in his various meetings? We have a set of clips that show him appearing on Jat Sabha platforms, justifying the riots and asking those assembled there to take revenge by voting for BJP in these elections.
We have to understand the sequence of the speeches. First, we have Udayvir Pehelka, an octogenarian Jat leader. He says,"if Amit Shah has come to talk to us, he must promise that he will help us withdraw all the false cases against the Jats and secondly, address a national problem, which is to control the population of this country, else soon enough votes from our community will not count and only" – he stopped to make a sign indicating a beard under his chin – "they will be present everywhere".
Then we have Amit Shah, who claims that riots are caused by attacks on “our women” and people take to the streets in defence of their honour. He accuses the SP government of favouring Muslims by filing cases against the Jat community for these “justified riots”. He further says that one vote will have two results; bring BJP government at the centre and bring down the SP government in UP. This has been the content of his speech in various meetings. We have the recordings of two such speeches.
Speaking in a meeting of the Jat Sabha in Raja Rani Banquet Hall, Shamli on April 3, 2014, Amit Shah said, "The elections in Uttar Pradesh, especially in western Uttar Pradesh, is an election for honour, for seeking revenge for the insult, and for teaching a lesson to those who committed injustice."
He then links the riots to attacks on women, a tact that Hindutva forces have been using for the last six decades. Riots happen, says Amit Shah, because Muslims attack “our” women. "This is not just another election. This is the time to avenge the insult meted out to our community. This election will be a reply to those who have been ill treating our mothers and sisters."
“With one vote, you can defeat both UPA and Mulayam and bring his government down. Why vote twice!”
Shah's solution to those who are complaining about cases against their community (remember this is a Jat Sabha and not a general public meeting) is to bring down the SP government by bringing in the BJP government at the centre. The centre then would presumably do the rest.
“People who were beggars, have become arabpatis running “buchadkhanas”. BJP is going to stop this. Please understand what it means.”
Amit Shah talks of how cows are sacred and give us milk while others eat them. This is the Modi line about “pink” revolution. Muslims are not mentioned but just in case listeners mistake it for other communities in India who do not have such taboos, he identifies this community with those running slaughterhouses.
In Raajhar village, Shamli district, on April 3, 2014, Amit Shah also tells you why revenge is necessary. "A man can live without food or sleep. He can live when he's thirsty and hungry but when he's insulted, he can't live. We must seek revenge for the insult heaped on us."
This is the ugly face of BJP – development as public campaign, a vicious communal campaign that is taking place all over the country, particularly in riot-torn western UP. It is aking for votes not only in the name of religious identity but also on the basis of caste.
The Model Code of Conduct of the Election Commission is clear – no party can appeal for vote on casteist or communal grounds. The BJP in western UP is doing both – the appeal for revenge against Muslims and the SP government, is an appeal for votes from the Jats. It is a continuation of their “social engineering” through riots, in which they have managed to split the unity of the Jat and Muslim peasantry that Chaudhury Charan Singh had built.