This Article is From Apr 17, 2019

General Elections 2019: "Electric Shock If You Press 2nd Or 3rd Button": Chhattisgarh Minister

A Congress minister from Chhattisgarh, Kawasi Lakhma, threatens voters in Kanker district with electric shocks from EVMs if they vote against his party

General Elections 2019: Congress Minister Kawasi Lakhma threatens voters with electric shocks from EVMs

Korar, Chhattisgarh:

A Chhattisgarh minister is on camera telling voters they will feel an "electric shock" if they press any button other than that for the Congress candidate on the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM). The minister, Kawasi Lakhma, has been issued a notice by the Election Commission. 

"You have to press the first button to vote for Biresh Thakur. The second button will give you a 'current (shock)'. The third button will also give you one. But we have fixed the first button," the minister said at a rally in the state's Kanker district on Tuesday. He goes on to repeat his warning about electric shocks to a few laughs from his audience.

The five-time lawmaker is Chhattisgarh's excise, commerce and industries minister. 

The Election Commission took notice of the remarks after a complaint by members of the BJP's state unit, and asked Mr Lakhma to give an explanation within three days.

Kanker votes on Thursday in the second phase of the staggered Lok Sabha elections. The third and final phase of polling in the state is scheduled for April 23.

The remarks aren't the first of their kind in these elections. Politicians across party lines have tried to coerce people into voting for their party.

Also on Tuesday, Ramesh Katara, a BJP legislator from Fatehpura, was caught on camera warning people that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had installed cameras in voting booths to check if they were voting for the ruling party.

Mr Katara was criticized for his remarks by RJD chief Lalu Yadav. He was also served an Election Commission notice for his remarks.

Threats such as these have also come from senior members of the central government. 

Earlier, BJP candidate and union minister Maneka Gandhi warned Muslims in her seat of Sultanpur that if they didn't vote for her, they should not expect help when she won the election. She made a similar remark while campaigning for her son, Varun Gandhi, in the Pilibhit constituency, suggesting villages would receive government help on the basis of the BJP's winning margin in each. The Election Commission banned Mrs Gandhi from campaigning for 48 hours.