The electoral battle in Uttar Pradesh, which has 80 parliamentary constituencies, the most from any state, has turned increasingly vicious, with high-pitched vitriolic and expletives being hurled by rival politicians against each other.
Sample this political lingo: Bhedia (wolf), Gunda no.1 (hooligan number 1), Rakshas (demon), Shaitaan (devil). It doesn’t end there.
The scathing attack also includes Badle ki aag (fire of revenge), Maut ka saudagar (merchant of death), Boti-boti kar doonga (cut into pieces), Khooni panja (blood stained hand), and Insaaniyat ka Qatil (killer of humanity).
In Kairana, a senior Smajwadi Party minister recently used objectionable language against Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati and went on to invite the Dalit leader to “come and sit in his lap” for a “life time lesson”.
BSP's candidate from Moradabad Haji Yaqoob Qureshi, who has a slew of EC's model code of conduct violation cases against himself, has been spewing venom and seeking revenge from “qatils and shaitans” (murderers, devils).
The language of many contestants in the Lok Sabha polls is equally acerbic. Recently in western UP, several candidates used terms like atanki (terrorist), and khooni haath (blood stained hands).
Former Allahabad high court judge Haider Abbas Raza says the poll panel should not only take note, but also crack down on people spreading such hatred through their speeches. The Election Commission “is vested with all powers to stop all this and even the courts would not interfere in such matters”, he added.
Other than Amit Shah and Azam Khan are Union steel minister Beni Prasad Verma and many ministers in the Akhilesh Yadav government.
While Verma, who is a Congress candidate from Gonda, is known for his acidic tongue and has called BJP prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi a Gunda No.1 (Hooligan number one).
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Uttar Pradesh Umesh Sinha, however, says that the poll panel has taken serious view of the recent statements by politicians during campaigning and would act from time to time as per law.
Old timers rue the latest bout of hate speeches. Sharad Mishra, 85, recounts how vote seeking used to be “fairly decent” in the past.
“This type of uncouth language is very depressing,” he sighs, adding: “I looked forward to voting this time as I might not be around in the next one but the whole scene seems so vitiated.”
Rajendra Chowdhary, SP state spokesman and prisons minister called the embargo by EC on Azam Khan’s rallies “unfortunate and surprising”.
He however had no answer on the poll panel's indictment of the state government for not acting against Azam Khan's inflammatory speeches. Laxmikant Vajpayee, BJP state president, also terms EC’s restraining order on Amit Shah unfortunate.
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav too sparked a row when he said at a rally in Moradabad that the rapists do not deserve to be sent to gallows as their were “just boys who have committed a mistake”.