A leader of Uttar Pradesh’s ruling BJP is on camera as he unabashedly puts out a warning for Muslims to vote for his wife in civic polls or “face kasht (difficulties) like never before”. The video of the speech, made in the presence of two state ministers, has been widely shared.
BJP councilor Ranjeet Kumar Srivastava’s wife Shashi Srivastava is contesting the civic polls later this month in Barabanki.
Srivastava was campaigning for her earlier this week when he made the egregious threat. Two ministers of the Yogi Adityanath cabinet – Dara Singh Chauhan and Ramapati Shastri – watched as he said: “This is not the Samajwadi Party government… Here, none of your leaders can help you. Roads, drains etc are the work of civic bodies. You may also face other difficulties. Today you have no one to champion you in the BJP. If you don’t help our candidates win without discriminating … if you don’t vote for Ranjeet Sahab’s wife, then the distance that you are creating, the Samajwadi Party won’t help you. The BJP is in power. The difficulties you didn’t suffer earlier, you may face now.”
“Therefore, I am telling Muslims, vote for us. I am not begging. If you vote, you will live peacefully. If not, then you will realise what difficulties you will face.”
The BJP fielded Srivastava’s wife from the area because this time, the seat is reserved for women. An aide defended the councillor’s his comments, saying he only meant that he worked for Muslims, without discriminating, even though “they did not support him in 2012”.
Dara Singh Chauhan, who is the minister in charge of Barabanki district, has reportedly disapproved of the comments and said the party will take note of it