Indian Express

Ajai Rai controversy a non issue for BJP’s Murli Manohar Joshi, says ‘can’t cut off hand’

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The sitting MP from Varanasi, Murli Manohar Joshi said he would accept the party’s decision “like a disciplined soldier”. (Express Photo: Ravi Kanojia) Murli Manohar Joshi says, wearing election symbol on kurta is not a big thing.

BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi on Monday snubbed party leaders making a big issue out of Congress Varanasi candidate Ajay Rai displaying the party symbol at a poll booth, saying it was a “small thing”.

As BJP and AAP sought action against Rai for wearing his election symbol on his kurta, Joshi said, “For some people it (Rai wearing Congress symbol) may be a big thing. There is no big thing in that.”

“Who doesn’t know their (Congress) election symbol? Everybody takes hand with them, will you cut their hands? I feel that a party (BJP) which is winning with such a big margin should not look into these small things. It will not have an effect on a single vote,” he said.

The Election Commission has directed the Varanasi Returning Officer to file an FIR or complaint against Rai for displaying his party symbol and talking to media at a polling booth amounting to “canvassing” which is barred on the voting day.

Varanasi Returning Officer Pranjal Yadav said he has seen the video of Rai going inside the polling booth in Ramakant Nagar of Chetganj area wearing Congress’ election symbol.

“We have seen the video. We have informed the Special Election Observer and the higher authorities. Action would be taken immediately,” Yadav said.

Rai, along with his family members, this morning went to cast his vote wearing a badge of Congress election symbol ‘hand’ on his kurta.

He, however, defended his action, saying that he has the right to wear the symbol as a candidate.

Rai also claimed that the case against Narendra Modi cannot be compared with his action as the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate had shown his lotus symbol after casting vote in Gandhinagar.

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