The Haryana Election Commission Saturday ordered a probe against state cabinet minister Manish Grover for allegedly offering “guns, money and gunmen” to voters while campaigning for a BJP candidate in civic body polls in Rohtak.
Assistant State Election Commissioner Parmal Singh said that that the commission has viewed the matter seriously.
“It has come to the notice of this Commission that Manish Grover, Minister of State for Cooperation, allegedly offered guns, money and gunmen to the voters while campaigning for BJP candidate from ward number 10 of the Municipal Corporation using such words… is a violation of the Model Code of Conduct,” it said. The commission has asked the Deputy Commissioner to inquire into the matter and send a detailed report to the panel by 11 am on Sunday.
Along with the directive, the commission has also attached a copy of the complaint made by the mayoral candidate in Rohtak, Sita Ram Sachdeva’s election in-charge Virender Sachdeva, to the panel on Friday. Sachdeva has alleged that the minister had made the controversial remark while addressing a public meeting at village Pehrawar in Rohtak, where elections for the Municipal Corporation are underway.
According to the complaint, the minister had allegedly stated, “Chunav me hathiyar, gunmen, paisa jo chahiye wo dunga, 16 December tak kisi bhi cheej ki kami nahi aane dunga (I will provide you weapons, gunmen and money whatever you ask. I will make sure you people don’t fall short of anything till December 16.” The civic body polls in Haryana will be held on December 16.
The minister, however, refuted charges and said he was referring ‘hathiyar’ to the security provided by the government and that “paisa” was a reference to financial help to the woman candidate who belongs to a poor family. “Whenever a candidate contests the poll, the supporters collectively help him or her financially.”
In a statement, the minister also said that he had made the remark when villagers had informed him about ‘dabangai’ (pressure) put by some influential people on them. “I had stated that there was no need to be pressured,” he said, adding that he had asked them to cast their votes in a fearless manner.