Controversy continues to chase BJP candidate from Alwar Mahant Chandnath,10 years after he made his debut in Rajasthan with the 2004 parliamentary polls. Last time, he started his innings with a murder charge against him, followed by allegations of distributing cash among local journalists. This poll season, an explosive video of Baba Ramdev asking him not to discuss black money before the media has gone viral on the internet.
While the raw footage of the video (a copy of which is with The Indian Express), shows Chandnath complaining to Baba Ramdev about the difficulty in bringing cash into the constituency and also that his money was seized by police, Chandnath in his defence told The Indian Express, “Media has tampered with the footage. I was saying that Bhanwar Jitendra Singh (sitting Congress MP) was complaining to his people that his money was seized. If anyone has seized my money let them show it.”
Officials said Rs 37.5 lakh have been seized so far after random checks of vehicles across the constituency but the source of the money could not be attributed to any particular candidate.
Chandnath has also been pulled up after supporters garlanded him with currency notes worth Rs 11,000. “I was giving a speech when they put that garland from behind. But the money has been added to my total election expenditure. The main issue is that I am winning hands down in this constituency and so the Congress is trying these tricks.”
Vice president district Congress committee Jagdish Beniwal, sitting Bansur MLA Shakuntala Rawat and former Alwar rural MLA Tikaram Juli — in a press meet Tuesday— said the local party unit has filed a written complaint with the Election Commission against Chandnath and Baba Ramdev for violating the code of conduct at a yoga camp. The complaint states that Ramdev used the camp to promote the BJP candidate and slogans were raised in favour of Narendra Modi.
In this election, Chandnath has been run down by Congress opponent Jitendra Singh as the ‘rank outsider’ and ‘criminal’. “This is a battle between Made in China and Made in Alwar,” Singh has maintained in his election rallies.
However Chandnath, who is a native of Rohtak, Haryana, had contested for the parliamentary polls in 2004 and lost to Congress candidate Karan Singh Yadav by a thin margin of 8000 votes. The assembly seat vacated by Yadav in Behror was later won by Chandnath in the same year.