After he was caught on camera threatening voters with consequences if they do not vote for BJP, party MLA Bhawani Singh Rajawat on Sunday said he was only asking them to choose BJP over Congress as the latter had "done nothing for them".
A video of Rajawat, BJP MLA from Ladpura in Kota, had purportedly showed him telling voters he would drive them out of their illegally built dwellings in Kota if they did not vote for BJP in recent local body elections.
"The matter is connected to the municipal corporation election and there is a scheme in my constituency under which people are residing illegally in around 250-300 houses," the MLA said.
"They had come to me and I showed pity on them considering they were poor, and allowed them to stay in those houses so that they could be shifted to some other place under Punarvaas Scheme,"he said.
"When the municipality elections came, I told them that I am providing you a place to stay, and other basic amenities, so you vote for the BJP and not for Congress as it has not done anything for you and only exploited the poor," he charged.
In the video, the MLA doesn't stop at the threat and even offered them a ‘bribe’. “I will get 1,000 BPL cards made. It is my government, my CM, and the municipal corporation board will also be ours.”
Rajawat is also heard saying it’s not difficult to know who voted for whom. “Peti khulte hi pata chal jata hai... (We will know the moment the box is opened).”
He then tells the crowd to swear on their children they will vote for the BJP and no other party.
When Hindustan Times had contacted him on Saturday, Rajawat was unrepentant over the issue. “To win elections, one has to use all these measures. I haven’t done anything wrong,” he said.
“They are living there illegally, I provided them with water and electricity, why shouldn’t I expect them to vote for my party?” he asked.
The video has gone viral on social media and the party leadership, which is meeting in Jaipur for panchayat elections, has gone into damage control.
(With agency inputs)