‘Carry firearms to counting stations’: Upendra Kushwaha’s bizarre appeal on EVM row
Rashtirya Lok Janshakti Party (RLSP) chief and former union minister Upendra Kushwaha on Tuesday warned of bloodshed in Bihar if the government “tries to steal the peoples’ votes” (EVMs) even as asked Grand Alliance supporters to carry arms, if needed, into counting centres on May 23.
“People across Bihar are massively apprehensive of theft of their votes sealed in the EVM machines currently lying in the protection of the state and Central forces. Earlier, we used to hear that booths have been looted. Nowadays, under the NDA regime, peoples’ votes are being looted. I want to caution the state and the union government that the people are highly worried about the safety of their votes. If there is any attempt to sabotage or steal their votes, there could be bloodshed on the streets,” Kushwaha said, while addressing a Grand Alliance (GA) press conference in Patna.
Kushwaha went on to appeal to the Grand Alliance workers and leaders to converge in large numbers at all the counting centres on May 23 to prevent any attempt by the ruling parties to mess up with the EVM machines, and if at all the need arises, they should also carry arms.
“As one carries arms to protect his life, the Grand Alliance voters should do the same to protect their votes. They ought to alert and prompt in taking any step to safeguard their future sealed in the EVMs,” he said, while vehemently negating the exit poll findings by various media houses describing them as a conspiracy to create conducive atmosphere for the NDA, especially the BJP.
Vikasheel Insaan Party (VIP) chief Mukesh Sahni also said the voters should protect their votes themselves. “It’s time, the poor and oppressed populace rise up from slumber and become chowkidars to protect their votes,” he said.
On whether he intended to incite people to violence during the counting day, Kushwaha said, “As a citizen of the country and responsible politician, it is my duty to caution the administration on the angst pervading the people’s minds and the possible outcome. After all, it’s a matter of the poor, dalit, Muslims and extremely backward class peoples votes. Late Karpuri Thakur had also suggested that people should protect their votes. We being his disciples are only following him,” he said, as other GA leaders seated next to him in the joint press conference nodded in affirmation.
The RLSP leader, who after switching sides from NDA to GA ahead of the polls, has been in the news for his controversial statements against the CM and other NDA leaders. Recently, he had claimed there was a threat to his life from the Nitish government.
State Congress president Madan Mohan Jha also rubbished the exit poll findings.
“The exit poll findings on Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh assembly polls had proved to be a miserable failure. It’s my belief that the media is creating a suitable atmosphere for the BJP, but eventually the opposition will have the last laugh,” Jha said.
RJD state president Ram Chandra Purve too dismissed the exit poll results and said his party totally disagrees with them. “I can confidently claim that we are winning no less than 25 seats,” he said.