Sunday, May 24, 2015Sunday, May 24, 2015

India's election commission lifts ban on top Modi aide

Published on Apr 18, 2014 2:51 PM
Mr Amit Shah, a leader of India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), attending his party's national council meeting at Ramlila ground in New Delhi January 18, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - India's election commission has lifted a ban on a top aide of Hindu nationalist opposition leader Narendra Modi that had threatened to hobble his efforts to win votes in the country's most populous state.

Mr Amit Shah, Modi's campaign manager in the battleground state of Uttar Pradesh, was banned from election rallies and meetings this month after making speeches deemed to have stirred tensions with minority Muslims.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has named Mr Modi as its candidate to become prime minister, is forecast to emerge as the clear leader after India's five-week general election that ends on May 12. Results are due on May 16.

A series of opinion polls this year has forecast that the BJP and its allies will win the biggest chunk of the 543 parliamentary seats up for grabs but fall short of a majority. One large poll this week predicted they would scrape a majority.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!