Bareilly: A BJP lawmaker in Uttar Pradesh furious at having to wait at a toll booth is seen slapping an employee in visuals caught on CCTV and posted on social media. The clip exposes high-handedness by an MLA at a time ministers across the country are removing red beacons or "lal batti" from their cars on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's orders in an attempt to end "VIP culture".
Rakesh Rathore, a lawmaker from Sitapur, is seen in the video assaulting the employee, who appears to be in the middle of an argument with the legislator's staff. He even pulls aside the barrier and grabs the young man for another thrashing. The incident allegedly took place on the highway near Bareilly, but it is not clear when.
Reports suggest the MLA was angry after waiting for 10 seconds for his convoy to cross the toll. His staff allegedly refused to pay the toll and tried to drive off without paying.
This incident comes weeks after Shiv Sena lawmaker Ravindra Gaikwad assaulted an Air India manager and bragged about "hitting him 25 times with a slipper", earning a flying ban that was removed after he expressed regret in writing.
Ending what is described as "VIP culture" - or the arrogance of power - was the main idea behind PM Modi's decision to ban beacons or lal batti across India without exception. The ban includes the President, the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India, besides ministers, Chief Ministers and officials. "Every Indian is special. Every Indian is a VIP," tweeted the PM.