Congress candidate for Vadodara Lok Sabha constituency Narendra Ravat allegedly clicked a selfie on his mobile phone as a mark of “protest” and sent across a message of “angst and frustration” felt by the people of his constituency due to the “man-made floods” from the Vishwamitri river.
As he emerged from the polling booth at Railway Colony in Nava Yard area of the city around 9:45 am on Saturday, with the Congress in his left hand, he seemed to be taking a photograph of himself on his cell phone in an act of what appeared to be a recreation of what PM Narendra Modi had done during the Lok Sabha election on April 30, 2014.
later while speaking to the media, Ravat said that the “selfie” was a “symbolic protest” since he did not in fact capture any image of himself on his phone, but was only pretending to be doing so to voice his protest against the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for having “betrayed Barodians”.
“The selfie act was a way to send across a message of angst and frustration that the people of Vadodara have been feeling for the past few days after bei8ng affected by the flood in the Vishwamitri river. I only tried to convey to Modi and the BJP how they have betrayed the Barodians,” Ravat said, maintaining that neither did he capture any photo on his mobile phone nor did he post it on social media. “Modi had clicked his picture and posted it on the social media to promote himself. I have not broken the law by doing that,” he added.
Ravat seemed to be taking a selfie on his Nokia phone, directing the front of the camera towards himself, even when the mobile phone does not have a front camera.
Meanwhile, the District Election Officer (DEO) initiated inquiry into the matter at the instance of the Chief Election Officer. “We are carrying out an inquiry and a report will be submitted to the CEO and the Election Commission. Any action against Ravat, if at all he is found guilty of the matter, will be taken by CEO and the EC,” said DEO Avantika Singh.
Narendra Modi had captured his selfie outside a polling booth in Ahmedabad which attracted much criticism from Congress, and the matter was taken to the Chief Election Commission and an FIR had been lodged by the state government for alleged violation of the code of conduct under the Representation of People Act as well as violation of the notification under Section 188 of the IPC that prohibits campaigning within 100 metres of the booth and within 48 hours of polling. The crime branch of Ahmedabad police later gave him a clean chit.
The city BJP unit remained unfazed by the act and said it was meant for self-promotion, adding that they were not going to lodge any complaint against Ravat for the same. Calling it a “gimmick,” city BJP president Bharat Dangar said, “We will see if we need to make any complaint, but so far we have decided to ignore it.”
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