A Congress MLA in Rajasthan has said that a video being widely shared on social media that shows him asking "Who is better? Modi or Ashok Gehlot" while distributing ration kits among the poor has been "edited".
In the 34-second clip, which has been criticised by the BJP, Congress's Rajendra Singh Bidhuri is heard comparing Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Rajasthan Chief Minister. "I won't let you sleep hungry in the night. Who is better - Modi or Ashok Gehlot?" the MLA from Begun constituency of Chittorgarh district - about 220 km from state capital Jaipur - is heard saying in the clip.
"Tell me who is better," he asks . "What did you say? Modi. Then go and light lamps (diyas)," he says as others laugh. Some users claimed that he did not give ration kit to a woman who replied that she supported PM Modi.
Earlier this month, PM Modi had urged the people across the country to light lamps to "fight the darkness spread by coronavirus".
Among those who criticised the 56-year-old Congress MLA were some BJP leaders. "Calling the poor people, who are struggling to arrange food, luring them with ration and then asking them who is better - Modi or Gehlot? This doesn't only shame Rajasthan but the whole nation," Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat tweeted in Hindi.
गरीब निर्धन लोग जिनके लिए दो वक्त का खाना भी मशक्कत बन चुका है उन्हें सभा लगाकर राशन देने के नाम पर बुलाना और फिर सवाल करना कि बताओ मोदी अच्छा है या गहलोत?— Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (@gssjodhpur) April 19, 2020
यह राजस्थान ही नहीं अपितु पूरे देश को शर्मसार कर देने वाली घटना है? #RajasthanFightsCoronapic.twitter.com/L49i3b5QVa
The Congress MLA today attacked those sharing the "edited clip".
"The video that is being shared has been edited. What I had asked the crowd 'Who is better - those who light Diyas or Rajasthan government that is distributing ration kits among poor'. But when a BJP supporter standing behind an elderly woman in the crowd said: 'Modi is better'... I told him: 'Well, then light lamps," Mr Bidhuri said, reacting to the criticism.
"The elderly woman was given the ration kit. She came to meet me after the event," he said, adding that the BJP supporter may have shot the video.
"Dear @RahulGandhi ji 2 days ago in a PC you spoke about Strategically managing the COVID pandemic! Is this your directions to your Cheif Ministers? ..to distribute Ration only to those who HATE MODI? What a Shameful STRATEGY Mr Gandhi to manage COVID pandemic," BJP's Sambit Patra wrote on Twitter.
Dear @RahulGandhi ji— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) April 19, 2020
2days ago in a PC you spoke about Strategically managing the COVID pandemic!
Is this your directions to your Cheif Ministers? ..to distribute Ration only to those who HATE MODI ?
What a Shameful STRATEGY Mr Gandhi to manage COVID pandemic pic.twitter.com/ZcS1XICfpk
Responding to Sambit Patra's remarks, Mr Bidhuri said: "Sambit Patra ji needs to get a taste of reality. They can praise Modi ji... We will praise our leaders. Our response to COVID-19 in various parts of the state should is praiseworthy."
The woman in question also denied claims that she was not given the ration kit. "Bidhuri saab came day before yesterday. Around 150 people were there. All people got food. He is doing good work," the woman is heard saying in a clip.
A nationwide lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus began on March 25; it was extended to May 3 last week. Many states and union territories including Delhi, Rajasthan and Kerala, are arranging ration kits and food for those in need.