Gloves off as India's BJP woos the Hindu vote in northern heartland

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By Sharat Pradhan MUZAFFARNAGAR, India (Reuters) - India's main opposition party, tipped to form the next government, appears to be returning to its Hindu nationalist roots at the start of a five-week general election, raking up divisive issues and using strong language in an area hit by religious riots. Criss-crossing the country for months before the first phase of voting began on Monday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its candidate for prime minister, Narendra Modi, had mainly campaigned on a ticket of better governance, economic development and job creation. But just hours after voting started, the election commission demanded an explanation from Modi's chief aide Amit Shah, accusing him of incendiary speeches in towns where dozens of people, mostly Muslims, were killed in Hindu-Muslim riots last year. When justice is not done to all the parties and the action is one-sided action, then the public is forced to come out in the streets," Shah said in the town of Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh state last week, according to a transcript provided by the commission.