Citing a media interview of senior BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya in which he purportedly claimed to have spent a lot of money without the party candidate’s knowledge, the Congress on Tuesday approached the Election Commission and demanded that election for Mhow Assembly constituency be revoked.
In a video clip shared by Narendra Saluja, media coordinator of former CM and Congress leader Kamal Nath, Vijayvargiya is shown as allegedly claiming that he had assured the party high command that he would ensure Usha Thakur’s victory from Mhow by at least 10,000 votes. “I spent a lot of money without her knowledge. I used to go there at 2 am to do setting (fix the game),” he purportedly claims.
Vijayvargiya was not available for a comment despite repeated attempts. An aide of Thakur promised that she would speak after two hours but did not return calls.
Thakur won from Indore-3 in 2013 but was shifted to Mhow in 2018. Vijayvargiya’s son Akash was fielded from Indore-3 and won by 5,751 votes. Thakur defeated Congress’s Antar Singh Darbar by 7,427 votes.
In the interview to a local media organisation, Vijayvargiya allegedly said that a survey had given negative feedback against Thakur from Indore-3 seat. He allegedly said that he convinced the party to field Thakur from Mhow and later guaranteed her victory because the high command wanted her to win.
In its complaint to chief electoral officer (CEO) Veera Rana, the Congress said Vijayvargiya’s admission should be treated as a violation of electoral code of conduct and the money that he claimed to have spent should be added to her expenditure. “When campaigning ends at 10 pm, Vijayvargiya should come clean on what setting he was doing there,’’ the complaint stated, demanding that Thakur’s election be quickly revoked.
BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal said since Congress leaders have moved a complaint to the CEO, they should wait for the EC’s decision. “Congress leaders have a habit of insulting constitutional bodies when decisions go against the party,’’ he said.
Darbar, who lost to Vijayvargiya in 2013 from Mhow and challenged it in court, accusing abuse of money power, said, “I could not prove my charges but he has himself admitted it now.”
“When he is admitting to spending money on someone else’s election it’s a given that he must have spent on his own election,’’ the Congress veteran told The Indian Express.
A BJP insider said Vijayvargiya’s alleged comment may have been aimed at cutting Thakur to size – she is said to be one of the contenders for a berth in the next Cabinet expansion. While seeking votes for herself in 2018, Thakur had said that she was a victim of dynasty politics and had been sent to Mhow because Vijayvargiya wanted to field his son from Indore-3 constituency.
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