Three BJP members of the Mahalingapura town municipal council in north Karnataka were allegedly manhandled by their own party leader, Terdal MLA Siddu Savadi, who suspected that the women would be shifting sides to the Congress during an election to pick a president for the town council.
Videos of Savita Hurakadli, Chandini Nayak and Godavari Baat being manhandled by Savadi and his supporters as they entered the premises of the town council on Monday emerged on local media channels Wednesday.
Savadi, however, has claimed that he was merely trying to hand over an election whip to them.
According to local reports from Mahalingapura in Bagalkot district, the three had asked BJP leaders to facilitate their election as the president and vice president during internal polls since the BJP enjoyed a majority of 13 seats in the 23-member council. Huradkati filed a nomination for the president’s post while Baat filed for the vice-president post.
However, Hurakadli, Nayak and Baat shifted allegiance to the Congress, which had 10 seats, after the BJP refused their demand for nominations.
On Monday, when the three women turned up at the town council, Savadi and his supporters attempted to forcibly prevent the women from voting in order to prevent a defeat for the BJP, the women have alleged. “We are all in the same party and we did not expect this from the MLA,” Hurakadli told local reporters.
BJP candidate Snehal Angadi was elected the president of the council while Nayak was elected vice-president through a lottery system after votes were tied 12:12 on account of votes by the local BJP MLA and MP and the absence of Baat during the election.
Savadi has claimed that he did not manhandle the women but was trying to hand over an election whip to the women. He alleged that the women were kidnapped ahead of the polls by a Congress leader. “We do not know how they were lured away – whether they were threatened or given any offers. Two family members of the women filed a police complaint that they had been kidnapped,” he claimed.
The women did not file complaints but the Bagalkot police have stated that they have taken up a suo motu case.
The Congress has criticised Savadi’s actions.
“The BJP culture is now about doing whatever they want to whoever they want. It can be anybody,” state Congress president D K Shivakumar said. “We will see what sort of action they take in this issue. We will react after they take action. I leave it to the wisdom of the CM.”
Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women has asked its state counterpart in Karnataka to investigate the incident after a video showing one of the councillors being pushed around and then falling down a flight of stairs went viral. — With ENS, Delhi
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