Humiliated by the stinging loss in the Chitrakoot bypoll, and faced with two fresh bypolls, it seems that senior ministers in the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh have grown desperate. Throwing all norms of political decency to the wind, Yashodhara Raje Scindia, Madhya Pradesh’s Minister for Sports and Youth Welfare, Religious Trusts and Endowment, was reportedly threatening voters while on the campaign trail on February 17, according to an ANI tweet. “Chulhe ki yojana, kyun nahi aayi aapke paas? Bharatiya Janata Party, kamal ki yojana hai. Aap panje mein vote doge, aapke paas aaegi nahi. Aap kamal ko doge, aapke paas aaegi. Seedhi baat hai. Aap agar panje ko vote doge toh hum panje ko kyun denge? Hum panje ke haath se kyun denge aapko chulha? Nahi denge. Aaapko apni samajhdaari se aisi party ko vote dena hai jiski har cheez aapke gharon mein aa jaaye”, she arrogantly said.
Roughly translated, this means “Why didn’t the Ujjawala Yojana scheme come to you? This is a scheme of the BJP, a scheme of the lotus (BJP’s symbol). If you vote for the hand, this scheme won’t come to you. If you vote for the lotus, the scheme will come to you. It’s simple. If you vote for the hand, then why will we give give gas stoves to you through the symbol of the hand. We won’t. You have to, with your own discretion, vote for (our) party so that everything run or launched by this party comes to your house.”
Perhaps the minister thinks we are still in pre-Independence times, and is mistaking schemes of the Madhya Pradesh government as alms being doled out from her personal royal treasury.
If this wasn’t bad enough, now Madhya Pradesh Urban Development and Housing minister Maya Singh has delivered equally brazen threats while on the campaign trail. “Jinhone phool ko vote diya unka sab theek hai. Aapne haath ko vote dene ki galti kari. BJP ko vote dijiye sabko sab kuch milega. Apna vote kharaab mat karna. Jo agar iss baar galti karenge woh kuch nahi paa payenge,” said Maya Singh, again reported by ANI.
Translated, this means “Whoever voted for the flower (lotus), everything is fine for them. You committed a mistake by casting your vote for the hand. Vote for BJP and everyone will get everything. Don’t waste your vote. Whoever commits a mistake this time, won’t be able to get anything.”
Notably, Kolaras and Mungaoli had both voted for Congress candidates, Ram Singh Yadav and Mahendra Singh Kalukheda respectively, in 2013. The bypolls were necessitated by their deaths.
No doubt the memory of how Congress thrashed BJP by 14,000 votes in the Chitrakoot bypoll, despite Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan addressing as many as 13 public meetings in the constituency, is fresh in the minds of BJP leaders in MP, leading them to throw all norms to the winds. Or perhaps it’s the spectre of Congress’ Guna MP Jyotiraditya Scindia’s huge roadshows through Mungaoli and Kolaras—he is said to hold huge sway in the region—that’s leading the BJP to throw all decency to the wind.
Kolaras and Mungaoli vote on February 24. Counting is on February 28.