A BJP legislator in Uttar Pradesh's Sitapur district, 80 km from state capital Lucknow, has hit out at his own party's government in the state, saying lawmakers like him do not have any stature and too many statements to the media may lead to a 'sedition' case against him.
"I have taken many steps, but 'vidhayakon ki haisiyat kya hai (what stature do MLAs have?)'. If I speak too much, then sedition charges may be invoked against me," MLA Rakesh Rathore said when asked about efforts to operationalise a government trauma centre in the Sitapur town, whose building has been ready for a few years now.
When asked if he was suggesting that as an MLA he could not make a representation to his own government, Mr Rathore replied saying: "Do you think MLAs can speak their mind? You know I have raised questions in the past."
Mr Rathore, a first-time MLA, had joined the BJP before the 2017 Assembly elections in the state. He had fought election in the past as an Independent and was also associated with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party.
Last year, Mr Rathore was asked by the state BJP leadership to explain after a purported audio clip of him criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi went viral on social media.
In the clip, the BJP MLA, while purportedly talking to another BJP leader, had termed the Prime Minister's call asking people to clap and clang bells and plates at the beginning of the Covid pandemic as completely wrong.
"Will you remove coronavirus by clapping? You are breaking record of foolishness. Will corona go by blowing a conch? People like you are foolish...They will take your employment," the MLA had purportedly said.