Another row: BJP’s Waghodia MLA threatens consequences if votes don’t go to ‘lotus’https://indianexpress.com/elections/another-row-bjp-waghodia-mla-threatens-consequences-if-votes-dont-go-to-lotus-5662946/

Another row: BJP’s Waghodia MLA threatens consequences if votes don’t go to ‘lotus’

A video of his speech, which he made on Wednesday night at a public meeting for the inauguration of the election office of the BJP in the Waghodia Assembly segment of the Vadodara Lok Sabha, has gone viral.

Another Row BJP’s Waghodia MLA threatens consequences if votes don’t go to ‘lotus’
If the lotus doesn’t emerge victorious, then mind you all who live here illegally, I will take you to task. I am not afraid, I am going to fight and be intimidating.”— Madhu Srivastav, Waghodia MLA, BJP

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Waghodia MLA Madhu Srivastav has stirred controversy after he threatened people with consequences if they did not vote for the BJP. He made the threat during a speech at the party’s public meeting in Waghodia on Saturday.

Though he began with a request, Srivastav went on to say that he “will take people to task” if the lotus (BJP’s symbol) doesn’t emerge victorious at every booth in Waghodia. “It’s my request to people in Waghodia, that in every booth the lotus should emerge victorious,” Srivastav began, adding “If the lotus doesn’t emerge victorious, then mind you all who live here illegally, I will take you to task.”

A video of his speech, which he made on Wednesday night at a public meeting for the inauguration of the election office of the BJP in the Waghodia Assembly segment of the Vadodara Lok Sabha, has gone viral.

“I am going to be intimidating,” he can be seen openly saying in the video.

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“I am not afraid, I am going to fight and be intimidating. For years we have been sheltering you (addressing those whom he said were living illegally), provided water connection, electricity, houses, we have provided everything.”

Oscillating between intimidation and supplication in the same breath, Srivastav then said, “I request everyone here, without any discrimination on April 23rd, go out and vote, vote for the lotus symbol of the BJP and make Narendra Modi the Prime Minister again. I am your MLA, your servant, and as a servant it is my right to ask you to vote for the lotus symbol on April 23rd.”

The Vadodara city Congress unit filed a complaint against the Waghodia MLA’s speech with the District Election Officer. “Even after the Model Code of Conduct having been in place and despite (Srivastav) being an MLA, he is threatening the poor villagers and farmers of the area and demanding that they vote for the lotus symbol as per his instructions,” the Congress’ complaint said. “This does not account for a free and fair election.”

The Congress party demanded that strict action be taken against Srivastav.

District Electoral Officer Shalini Agrawal said they had received a copy of the speech, “We will be scrutinising the video and the audio and adequate action will be taken accordingly.”

Srivastav is notorious for making controversial remarks. Just a month ago, on March 2, he said he was ready to carry out an attack in Pakistan to avenge the Pulwama terror strike by a suicide bomber of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group.

Stating that legislators are “representatives of the country”, he said he was ready to sacrifice his life for the cause. “If they can kill 45, I have the courage to kill 500,” he said. “If the government instructs me and gives me arms and ammunition, I am ready to take revenge. I will crash my plane (there).”

Madhu Srivastav has acted in a few Gujarati films.

In the 2017 Assembly election, he threatened his party saying he would contest as an independent candidate if not given a ticket. He said he was sure that nobody could defeat him. It was as an Independent candidate that he became an MLA for the first time in 1995. Srivastav’s name has also been associated with the 2002 Best Bakery case as he had allegedly threatened one of the the witnesses, Zahira Shaikh.