Updated: May 18, 2021 8:12:59 am
In another instance of the ruling party’s leaders raising questions on the state government’s handling of the Covid situation, Rakesh Rathore, the BJP MLA from Sitapur (Sadar), said he might have to face “sedition” charges if he spoke too much.
While speaking to journalists in Sitapur, the MLA, when asked why, despite rising Covid cases and the need for more beds, a trauma centre project in Sitapur district was still non-operational, said, “Vidhayakon ki haisiyat kya hai…Hum jyada kahenge to desh droh, raj droh humpe bhi to lagega (What is our status anyway? If we MLAs speak too much, then we too will have to face sedition charges).”
When asked why the lockdown wasn’t being strictly enforced, he said: “Bahut acha chal raha hai… iss se behtar kuch nahi ho sakta hai… Hum sarkar to hain nahi, lekin yeh jaroor bata sakte hain ki jo sarkar keh rahi hai wahi thik mano… (Everything is going on well. Nothing can be better than this. I am not the government but I can tell you consider whatever the government is saying as correct).” When asked if he feared sedition charges despite being an MLA, he said, “Lagega ki unko koi bol para (They will think someone has spoken out).”
Later, speaking about the video that went viral on social media, Rathore told The Indian Express that he stood by what he said but does not want to speak any further. “I have spoken about my feelings, and it is better that I do not speak any more.”
Last year, Rathore was in news after audio clips of his phone calls had gone viral on social media, in which he purportedly questioned the call made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to beat thalis and light lamps during the first wave of Covid. In another phone call, he was heard sarcastically telling the other person, who asked him about the situation of food grains and essentials in his area, that things were “so good” that it appears that “Ram Rajya” had already come.
The MLA was later served a notice by the party for “anti-party” activities.
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