Not one but several incidents have been reported in western Uttar Pradesh that could spark communal clashes. While violence has been averted so far, only time will tell if they have succeeded in polarizing voters along communal lines. The shooting incident at Asaduddin Owaisi’s car is just one such incident.

While Home Minister Amit Shah, UP Chief Minister and other BJP leaders pressed on Kairana and Muzaffarnagar, reminding voters of the communal riots and the fact that their wives were not in security before the BJP was elected to power, they seem to have done little to quell common passions. Residents of both communities have, however, shown remarkable restraint so far.

There were many provocations. Permission for Dharam Sansad at Prayagraj (Allahabad), even after the controversial Haridwar conclave, could not have been given without official blessings. The Electoral Commission seemed oblivious to the rant emanating from Prayagraj or the insinuation that the election was between 80% on one side and 20% on the other, articulated by Yogi Adityanath.

On February 1, a young boy was killed in Sardhana in western UP. Fortunately, local residents intervened immediately, pointing the finger at the culprits belonging to both communities and the motive quickly attributed to a “love story”. The rapid intervention of the elders of the two communities prevented the situation from degenerating.

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