Senior BJP leader Onkar Singh Lakhawat on Friday claimed that a Pakistani spiritual leader is meddling in the Indian elections and asking his followers to support BJP rebel leader Jaswant Singh in Barmer.
Jaswant Singh with Muslim supporters in Barmer (HT Photo)
Lakhawat, who is the state BJP vice-president, said Pakistan and other anti-India forces do not want the BJP and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi to come to power. “This is an Indian election and not that of the Pakistan national assembly,” he said.
Lakhawat told the media that the BJP has got some reports that Pakistan is interfering in the Indian elections in this border constituency. “We will demand a probe by intelligence agencies into media reports that Pakistani spiritual leader Pir Pagaro is asking his supporters to support Singh,” he said.
Barmer has a large section of minority and Scheduled Caste voters who are followers of Pakistani cleric Pir Pagaro. Usually, before the elections, Pagaro issues a fatwa about which candidate to support. There were reports in a section of the media that Pagaro has indicated to his followers to support Singh in the Lok Sabha polls.
Asked what evidence he had to support his contention, Lakhawat said the party is collecting evidence and will request the Union government for a probe by intelligence agencies.
“We will also request the election commission to take action and stop such attempts,” he added.
Targeting the rebel leader, Lakhawat asked how a man who had praised Jinnah support the Ram Janmabhoomi issue. Lakhawat, who had accompanied Singh on his Pakistan visit in 2006, said that he had not visited Jinnah’s mausoleum or met Pir Pagaro.
In 2004, Singh’s son Manvendra had won the Lok Sabha election on a BJP ticket with a record margin of 2.72 lakh votes with support of the Muslim community. This time, after reports that Singh is getting good support from the minority, the BJP does not want to take any chances.
On the issue of Manvendra, the BJP MLA from Sheo, campaigning for his father, Lakhawat said the party has received complaints with some evidence from party workers regarding this, and disciplinary action would be taken against him.