Can a Leopard Change His Spots: BJP’s History of Hate Mongering at the Polls

Written by Teesta Setalvad | Published on: April 16, 2016
Hindu girls eloping or being abducted by Muslim youth with a voiceover saying that Muslim clerics encouraged this.
When the Election Commission (EC) had first directed, on April 4, 2007,  the registration of an FIR against senior party functionaries, the then Lucknow SSP had been directed , to carry out an investigation and Hazratganj police station in-charge conducted the preliminary inquiry and concluded that the CD could cause hatred among different communities and political parties. Thereafter, the then Hazratganj police in-charge Adesh Kumar Sharma, on April 5, 2007, registered FIRs against BJP office-bearers and workers under various IPC sections including 153 A (Promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion), Section 153 B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to nation integration and Section 295 A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings) and Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act that is for promoting enmity between classes in connection with election.
The Hindu had, on April 7, 2007 passed strong editorial comments on the comments of the CD, under the heading, " Playing foul" The editorial had read:
“That a mainstream party, the BJP, revels in Muslim-bashing is not the best-kept of India's political secrets. The campaign of vitriol gets particularly nasty at election time — for obvious reasons. Since the party's raison d'etre as well as life force is communalism as a political mobilisation plank, its electoral strategy can only be pitting India's overwhelming Hindu majority against its 150 million Muslim minority...
"… the BJP has got away, time and again, with inciting communal passions. A dispassionate analysis reveals that the major milestones on its post-1984 road to power have been communal campaigns revolving round the project of demolishing the Babri Masjid and building a Ram temple on its grave, and exploiting anti-Muslim pogroms, most notoriously in Gujarat… This time with evidence in hand, the Election Commission has shown commendable seriousness in moving against the offenders… A lot rides on how the ECI handles this case and how the BJP responds to the challenge.
"The statute book — the Indian Penal Code, the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and the Election Commission's Model Code of Conduct, the binding character of which has been upheld by the Supreme Court — provides enough and more backing for action against parties intentionally causing enmity and hatred among communities…The time has come to close the gap between precept and practice by enforcing the electoral and criminal law against the nth time offenders in U.P."

Dozens of Citizens had petitioned the Election Commission and Made this Appeal:

Stop BJP’s ‘Hate Muslims’ campaign for Hindu votes in UP!

"We are absolutely horrified by the shocking attempt of the BJP to launch a hate campaign against Muslims with the intent of gathering Hindu vote in the coming Assembly polls in UP. I/We have gone through the contents of the complaint lodged by Ms. Teesta Setalvad and others with the CEC’s head office in New Delhi this morning on behalf of all peace-loving citizens and are in total agreement with its contents and specific demands. Sir, we urge stringent and urgent action from your side to squash such a sinister bid to divide India on religious lines.

--Demand from Chief Election Commissioner: the BJP’s de-registration
--Demand from Union Home Minister & Chief Minister, UP:
--Criminal prosecution of BJP leadersDear Friends,

Since yesterday, IBN 7 has been continuously telecasting a detailed expose on how CDs are being distributed by the BJP to gather votes in UP. The contents of the CDs, intended to generate hatred against Muslims in order to gather Hindu votes in the Assembly polls in UP are absolutely shocking to say the least.
 -- Throughout its continuing telecast since yesterday, IBN 7 has repeatedly said the contents of the CD are so vicious that the channel is holding back the audio contents out of fear that it could instigate Hindu-Muslim violence in the country. Therefore, IBN has restricted itself to only showing images of BJP leaders and others who figure in the CDs.
 -- The BJP leadership’s first attempt was to pretend that it had no knowledge of what the CDs contained. But the producer of the programme and the dialogue writer have been shown telling IBN 7 that the CDs were seen and cleared by none less than BJP President, Rajnath Singh and top BJP leader from UP, Lalji Tandon, among others, before their release.  The CDs were released at a formal press conference by Tandon in Lucknow on Tuesday.
 -- The malicious act of the BJP leadership is a Constitutional and criminal offense (inciting hatred against any community). It is also a serious Electoral Offence, under the provisions of the Representation of People’s Act.
-- Caught in its ugly act to collect voted over dead bodies, the BJP has quickly apologized, saying it was withdrawing the cassettes. But is a “sorry” enough to condone what is nothing short of a criminal plot for inciting hatred and mass murder?
 -- The Chief Election Commissioner has reportedly taken very serious note of this attempt to divide the nation simply to reap a rich electoral harvest. But the issue is far too serious for citizens to leave this matter to the Chief Election Commissioner.
 -- We urge all of you to send protest letters, telegrams or e-mails, NOW, demanding as peace loving citizens of this country, the immediate de-registration of the BJP as a political party and disqualification of every BJP candidate from participating in the coming Assembly elections in UP.
 -- We also ask you to write similarly to the Union Home Minister, Mr. Shivraj Patil and the chief minister of UP, Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav to ensure that FIRs are registered against top officials of the BJP and criminal prosecutions launched immediately.

Suggested course of action:

A. Petition the Chief Election Commissioner:
1. Please send an e-mail to the Chief Election Commissioner NOW, lodging your protest in your own words and demand stringent action against the BJP. ALTERNATIVELY, you are urged to copy and paste the message (Pls see SUGGESTED DRAFT TO CEC below) and email it to the CEC. (email: [email protected])

2. IN ADDITION, Please click to sign the Online Petition to the CEC in the same connection. This will help us pursue the matter further.

3. Please e-mail the Union Home Minister, Sri Shiv Raj Patil and UP Chief Minister, Sri Mulayam Singh Yadav, demanding criminal prosecution of the BJP leadership for inciting communal hatred against Indian Muslims. (Pls See SUGGESTED DRAFT TO Union Home Minister/UP CM below)
Home Minister e-mail: [email protected]; fax: 011-23794833
UP Chief MInister: [email protected] Fax: 0522-2239234; 0522-2235733;
See also What did the BJP’s Hate Ridden CD, ‘Bharat Ki Pukar’ actually say ?