Four days after he was sent to jail for assaulting an Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) official, Indore MLA Akash Vijayvargiya walked out of prison on bail Sunday to a hero’s welcome. As his supporters cheered, Vijayvargiya said that he “did not regret his actions” but “would try and walk in the footsteps of Gandhi from here on.”
As he spoke, supporters constantly garlanded him, chanting slogans lauding his “bravery” while videos even showed a man firing celebratory gunshots in the air from a rifle in front of his MLA office, with BJP flags waving in the background.
Vijayvargiya, the son of powerful BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, was sent to jail for assaulting IMC official Dhirendra Singh Bayas with a bat, preventing a building declared unsafe by the corporation from being demolished in the Ganji Compound area of Indore. Akash has since claimed that he did it to curb corruption and prevent women from being misbehaved with.
Incidentally, the IMC had originally planned to demolish the structure at the forefront of the controversy early Sunday morning, steadfast that it is a public safety hazard. However, sources said that the demolition has been put off until Tuesday because of complications with the requirement of police personnel.
Asked by The Indian Express if he would protest the demolition of the structure again, Vijayvargiya said, “I don’t have any official confirmation until now. When it does come, we will decide the future course of action.”
After he was granted bail, Vijayvargiya said: “I am not sorry and I don’t regret. There was information that some Congress leaders in my constituency are buying homes after tying up with the Nagar Nigam and they are breaking them down and making the poor homeless. Then, I had requested them that I am the elected representative, don’t I have the right to ask what is happening? I had also asked them that whatever action you take, do it after informing me. They did not listen to me at all.”
On the events of the day, Vijayvargiya said, “They sent a notice to a building which has a poor family that came to me. I called the Commissioner and sent him photos of the house. I told him that the family is poor and there is a handicapped woman, it is the monsoon, they have no alternative. It is my request that these people be given some time.”
“I called the Deputy Commissioner, and they said that the Commissioner will take the call. I told the person at the site that stop for a while but he began pulling women out more urgently after I said that. They started the JCB. When I reached there, women were being pulled, in police protection. I requested them to leave, and I had to pick up the bat to shoo them away.”
Vijayvargiya said that while he would not label his actions as incorrect, he wanted to follow the path of “Gandhi.” “What I did, even if it had happened five minutes later, they would have demolished the house. They would have misbehaved more and nothing could have done anything. I don’t regret it. But I pray to God that I don’t get an opportunity to do something like this again. In the future I want to walk on the path of Gandhiji,” he said.
Asked by reporters about the celebratory firing outside his office, the 34-year-old first time MLA said, “I condemn it. It is very shameful whoever fired. I don’t know any such supporter who has a gun so I don’t believe it was my supporter. But this movement has become a people’s movement. People have come from far and wide, people are congratulating me. It can be anyone who is angered by the Congress government.”
Senior police officials said that they were in the process of identifying the person who fired the gun from video evidence and action would be taken soon.
Vijayvargiya said that he had spoken to his father, Kailash Vijayvargiya who told him that he could take his own decisions, “but I must also live with the consequences of my actions”.