Campaigning for by-elections to 28 seats in Madhya Pradesh has descended to a new low with leaders of the Congress and BJP using highly derogatory and offensive remarks for each other — from “item” to “rakhail” to “bangles” — as they try to woo voters.
After Congress leader and former Chief Minister Kamal Nath described state minister and BJP’s Dabra candidate Imarti Devi as an “item” — the Election Commission issued him a notice Wednesday for alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct and sought an explanation within 48 hours – the BJP too landed in trouble Tuesday when police booked Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Bisahulal Singh, party candidate from Anuppur, for allegedly calling his Congress rival’s wife a “rakhail” (mistress).
Bisahulal Singh was booked for using an “obscene” word by Anuppur police on a complaint from the Congress candidate’s wife who protested outside the police station Tuesday, demanding immediate action.
In a video clip that did the rounds of social media, Bisahulal Singh spoke about his Congress rival’s nomination papers, and wondered why he had mentioned the name of his “rakhail” and not his first wife.
Taking cognizance of the matter, the state women’s commission has also sought an explanation from Bisahulal Singh.
The state Congress, in a complaint to the state Election Commission, demanded that Singh be barred from the bye-election.
J P Dhanopiya, legal head of MP Congress, claimed Singh had violated EC rules even in the past, but was emboldened because no action was ever taken against him.
“Bisahulal Singh has been repeatedly violating the rules of Election Commission and we have approached them on four different violations, but no action has been taken so far. We are hopeful that the Commission will take action this time,” Dhanopiya said.
BJP district president for Anuppur, Brijesh Gautam, claimed Bisahulal Singh’s remark was misunderstood. Admitting it was inappropriate, Gautam, however, said such language was used in daily discourse in the tribal belt. “We will challenge the FIR against Bisahulal Singh,” he said.
In another video clip that surfaced Tuesday, Bisahulal Singh was heard threatening Jayaprakash Aggarwal, the former Congress chief of Anuppur. “Teen November ke baad jo uski durdasha karunga woh koi nahi kar sakta. Mein usay raaste par le aaunga (No one can do what I will do to him after November 3. I will make him fall in line),” he said – November 3 is polling day.
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Last week at a rally, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya called former Chief Ministers Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh as “chunnu-munnu” who, he claimed, could not mobilise more than 100 people for their meetings and rallies.
That very evening, former Congress minister Sajjan Singh Verma, while campaigning for Congress candidate Premchand Guddu from Sanwer in Indore, struck back at Vijayvargiya: “Have you forgotten the days when you wore bangles on your hands, draped a saree, wore nose rings and prayed to god, dreaming of becoming the Chief Minister.”
Calling him Ravan, Verma said, “His nose has started expanding. As Dussehra comes closer, he starts resembling Ravan more and more.”
Kamal Nath and Shivraj Singh Chouhan have also been taking personal digs at each other. Nath said Chouhan carries with him two coconuts in his pockets, and breaks one while announcing any inauguration. Chouhan hit back, saying coconuts were auspicious, unlike bottles of champagne.
State Higher Education Minister Mohan Yadav, addressing a gathering in Agar-Malwa, said: “We do politics with grace, but if someone tries to do anything bad to us, we will drag them out of their homes and bury them. We are those people.”
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