BJP’s ‘leader with a clean image’ caught distributing money prior to MP by-polls
On Monday, a 27-second long video surfaced showing Madhya Pradesh’s food and civil supplies minister Bisahulal Singh distributing ₹100 notes to children and the video soon went viral. Singh, who is one of the BJP candidates contesting for Annupur Assembly seat in the November 3 by-elections, was seen carrying a bundle of ₹100 notes and was giving them to the young girl, lined up at the place. In the backdrop pro-BJP supporters could be heard shouting slogans praising him and BJP on the occasion.
The matter was immediately raised by local Congress leaders who logged the complaint with the election commission demanding an action on the accused minister for trying to influence the voters in his constituency by giving them money. Congress spokesman here Bhupendra Gupta told reporters, “The minister was clearly seen distributing money to the people in the video. He was trying to influence voters by opening his purse for them. It clearly violates the model code of conduct of elections.”
Another Congress spokesperson JP Dhanopia said that Singh should be ‘banned from contesting the polls, removed as the cabinet minister and should be booked for violating the model code of conduct’. He added, “We’ve demanded the EC to enquire into the matter and act against those officials who worked as per the wishes of Tulsiram Silawat to add names of fake/bogus voters in the voter list on a holiday on Sunday.”
Singh denied opposition’s allegations and said, “The complaint represents the polluted mindset of Congress against a senior tribal leader like me. The video about which the Congress has submitted the complaint is an old one when I was a minister in the BJP government a few months back. At that time, neither the assembly by-polls dates were announced nor was the model code of conduct in force. Whenever I’ve been elected an MLA or made a minister, I’ve been welcomed by tribal people in villages. This video pertains to when I was welcomed after becoming minister in one of the villages. To mark any auspicious occasion, we perform Kanya Pujan and as part of it only, the little girls wielding urns in their hands are being given currency notes as ritualistic gift.”
Singh was among the 22-MLAs Congress members who switched their political affiliation to the BJP, which led to the collapse of Congress government, led by Kamal Nath. In March Nath was replaced by Shivraj Chauhan, ending his 15-month rule. Many believe that Singh would win a ticket in the upcoming by-polls in exchange of his misplaced loyalty. Dr Narottam Mishra, BJP cabinet minister for home affairs came in support of Singh and rubbished the charges levied by Congress. He said that the opposition party was sharing a doctored video in order to malign Singh’s image. Mishra called Singh a “leader with a clean image”.