BJP MLA Brijbhushan Rajput, who was seen in a video purportedly questioning a vegetable vendor about his “actual name” and threatening him, told The Indian Express on Wednesday that as a “worker for Hindutva” living in Lucknow, where two “Hindutva leaders” had been killed, he fears for his life and is “extra vigilant” about activities near his residence.
He was referring to the murder of Hindu outfit leader Kamlesh Tiwari in October last year and the killing of another leader in Lucknow.
Rajput said, “I work for cow protection and Hindutva, and there is a threat to my life as well, but I did not say that members of any particular community cannot sell vegetables. I was just concerned about someone hiding his identity.”
In the video that went viral, the MLA from Charkhari in Bundelkhand purportedly asked the vendor to reveal his real name, failing which he would be beaten up. A boy who was with the vendor was asked his name. The boy is heard saying the name, and promising that they would not repeat the act. The MLA is heard telling the vendor not to return to his locality.
Rajput said his security guard bought vegetables from the vender. He claimed that when the vender was questioned about permission, he tried to flee. “This made me suspicious that he was hiding his true identity,” the MLA said. He alleged the vendor, “a Muslim, was citing a Hindu name and did not have any ID proof”.
Asked about the video, BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said, “The BJP does not support any discrimination. The MLA is just asking for a name.”