Maneka’s Threat to Sakshi Maharaj’s Curse, BJP MPs Hit New Lows
BJP MPs from Uttar Pradesh – Maneka Gandhi and Sakshi Maharaj – have figured out a unique way of winning votes – by threatening voters.
While speaking at a rally in Sultanpur, Maneka Gandhi said she will not be ‘inclined’ to offer jobs to Muslims if they don’t vote for her. “I am going to win for sure. If Muslims won’t vote for me and then come to ask for work, I will have to think, what’s the use of giving them jobs?” she is seen saying in a 3-minute video clip that is going viral.
She goes on to add, “You will need me, and I will have booth-wise details (of how many votes I got).”
Meanwhile, BJP leader Sakshi Maharaj took it one step further and warned voters that they would be cursed by him if they did not vote in his favour.
“I am a sanyasi (monk), if you make me win, I will win; otherwise (I) will do bhajan and kirtan in temple; but today I am here to seek your votes. I am here to beg at your door, if you refuse a sanyasi, I would take away the happiness of your family and will curse you,” he said.
The threats masquerading as appeals sent Twitter into a tizzy. Journalist Faye DSouza called Maneka Gandhi’s statements ‘shocking and deeply disappointing’.
The party has stooped to such levels of bigotry this election season that one Twitter user said she would even settle for a member who is vaguely pleasant and somewhat efficient. Another Twitter user explained to Maneka Gandhi that elected MPs/ministers “have a responsibility to serve ALL, as an Indian citizen, irrespective of whether they voted or not for her/him.”
Journalist Vasudha Venugopal condemned the ‘antipathy’ and ‘suspicion’ towards Muslims. She also said Maneka Gandhi’s speech points to the ways of finding who voted for whom.
Journalist Madhavan Narayanan said “such statements can come only from supreme confidence or sheer desperation”. “Make your pick,” he tweeted.
But journalist Seema Chishti called it a ‘threat, if there was one’.
Political commentator Tehseen Poonawalla also said never before in the history of independent India and elections have Muslims been threatened openly.
Another Twitter user said “If these leaders had really worked for people, they wouldn’t have to threaten people to vote for them.”
EC Must Take Action
The Election Commission must take note of this and come down hard, said some Twitter users.
Writer Shankkar Aiyar responded to Maneka Gandhi’s speech by quoting the Constitution of India which says, “I will do justice to all sorts of people according to the Constitution and law, without fear or prejudice, affection or malice.”
The Opposition has approached the Election Commission and have filed a complaint against BJP leader and Union Minister Maneka Gandhi for her remarks targeting a particular religion during a rally in Uttar Pradesh. A lot of answers are awaited. How will the BJP defend itself? Will they stay silent on the issue? What will the EC decide?