Congress to move EC after BJP minister says govt can manipulate elections
Devi was among the 21 Congress lawmakers whose resignations brought down chief minister Kamal Nath’s government in March and paved the way for BJP’s return to powerUpdated: Sep 18, 2020, 13:06 IST
The Congress has said it will lodge a complaint with the Election Commission (EC) over ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s alleged attempts to misuse government machinery to manipulate elections after a video went viral on social media showing Madhya Pradesh minister Imarti Devi purportedly saying they can win any seat in the crucial by-polls in November by just telling a collector to ensure that. The BJP enjoys a wafer-thin majority in the 230-member state assembly. It needs to win nine out of 28 seats for which by-polls are scheduled to stay in power. The BJP currently has 107 seats while Congress 88 in the House with an effective strength of 202.
Devi was among the 21 Congress lawmakers whose resignations brought down chief minister Kamal Nath’s government in March and paved the way for BJP’s return to power.
In the video, she is seen addressing a gathering in a village in her Dabra constituency, where she is due to contest the bypolls in November. “We [BJP] need only eight seats whereas Congress needs at least 27 seats. Please tell me if it is possible that the government will keep its eyes shut and they will win all the seats? The government enjoys so much majority that it can get any seat just by telling a collector that it wants this seat,” she is purportedly heard saying in the 30-second video. HT could not independently verify the authenticity of the video.
Devi said her statement was distorted and that she had said it is the duty of officers to provide benefits of government schemes to the people and develop the area. “If officers work properly, the government will get the benefits of the schemes.”
Congress spokesman JP Dhanopia said they will lodge a complaint with the EC. “What the minister Imarti Devi said speaks volumes about the ruling party’s design to misuse government machinery during the bypolls.”
BJP leader Hitesh Bajpai said Devi has denied having made such a statement. “Distorting her statement must be a handiwork of some mischievous elements to defame the government and the ruling party. People know well who these elements are. In the manner the video has been edited gives strong evidence that there are some people behind it.”
Devi was also a minister in the Kamal Nath government before she joined the BJP.