Row Over Madhya Pradesh Minister Yashodhara Raje Scindia's Message To Voters

The Congress has approached the Election Commission against Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his minister for "threatening voters"


Yashodhara Raje Scindia asked the voters to think before they choose the panja.

Kolaras, Madhya Pradesh:  Senior BJP leader Yashodhara Raje Scindia has landed in a controversy after she was heard telling voters in Madhya Pradesh "if you vote for panja (hand), you will not get benefits of government schemes". She was campaigning for the BJP candidate in Shivpuri district's Kolaras for the upcoming bypolls necessitated after the death of Congress lawmaker Ram Singh Yadav.

In a video clip, the Sports and Youth Welfare minister in Shivraj Singh Chouhan's cabinet is heard saying "the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana was introduced by the BJP. And if the voters choose panja (hand, Congress's election symbol) over kamal (lotus, BJP's election symbol), they will not benefit from the scheme". 

The Congress has approached the Election Commission against Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his minister for "threatening voters". State Congress chief Arun Yadav has called it a "brazen violation of model code of conduct".

However, the BJP said that Congress is just scared of facing the BJP and therefore, twisting her words. While defending Ms Scindia, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) Vice President and spokesperson Rahul Kothari said, "Congress is just terrified seeing Yashodhara Raje Scindia against Jyotiraditya Scindia. That's why they are levelling concocted and false accusations. She just meant that the rule of a single party would help in getting the benefit of the schemes immediately."

In Kolaras, a town in Shivpuri district, Ms Scindia said the area will remain backward if they don't vote for the BJP. "Chulhe ki yojana kyun nahi aayi aapke paas? Ye kamal ki yojana hai. Aap panje ko vote doge, aapke paas aaegi nahi. Aap kamal ko doge, aapke paas aaegi. Seedhi baat hai (Why didn't the gas connection scheme come to you? It is because this is a BJP scheme. If you vote for panja, you won't get the benefits. It's simple)," she had said.

Under the Ujjwala Yojana, the central government aims to replace unclean cooking fuels with LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) connections in all below poverty line (BPL) households in the country.

Ms Scindia also asked the voters to think before they vote and said, "Aapko apni samajhdari se aisi sarkar ke liye vote karna hai, jiski har cheez aapke gharon mein aa sake (You have elect the government whose schemes will reach your home)."

The BJP has strategically fielded Ms Scindia for campaigning in Kolaras against her nephew and Congress's popular face Jyotiraditya Scindia, who has been aggressively campaigning for his party candidates for over a month now.

When NDTV asked Mr Scindia if it's a Scindia versus Scindia battle, he said, "This is not a fight between two family members."

The by-elections to two Mungaoli and Kolaras next week are seen as a prestige battle between chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia. They will set the tone for the assembly elections in the BJP-ruled state due in November this year.

While the BJP has come up with slogans like "abki baar 200 paar" (this time we will cross 200 seats), for the Congress it's "abki baar Scindia sarkar" (this time the govt will be headed by Scindia).

BJP had won 165 of the 230 assembly seats in the last elections. The Congress had 58 lawmakers.

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