In a shocking incident, a Rajashtan cabinet minister hurled casteist abuses at a Congress party worker who wished to contest the panchayat polls as an independent candidate.
Ashok Chandana, a minister in the Gehlot government, is heard abusing a Congress party worker Raju Gurjar and warning him of the consequences of contesting as an independent. He challenged his candidature by hurling casteist remarks at him.
An audio clip allegedly of Ashok Chandana abusing the party worker has gone viral. In the clip, the authenticity of which is unverified, Ashok Chandana can be heard challenging & threatening Raju Gurjar to contest the elections. Further, Chandana also dares Gurjar to fight as an independent candidate with the support of 'his karyakartas' and also threatens to show him the door if the party worker returned to the leader's fold.
Congress party worker Raju Gurjur confirmed to Republic TV that Ashok Chandana had showered him with casteist abuses and revealed that he had been told 5 times that he 'wouldn't be his father's son if he did not fight the polls.'
"I have worked for the Congress party for 17 years. I have been rewarded with this after working for so long. I am going to fight as an independent candidate in the polls", said Raju Gurjar to Republic TV.
BJP MLA Ramlal Sharma condemned the remarks of the Congress minister and demanded his immediate resignation from the cabinet. Reacting to the viral audio clip, Ramlal Sharma said that such words had no place to exist in a democracy and demanded the Rajasthan government to launch a probe into the audio clip.
According to state election commissioner P S Mehra, 72.38 lakh voters, of which 37.47 lakh male and 34.90 female, will be able to exercise their franchise to elect 1310 members of 65 Panchayat Samiti and related Zila Parishad members.
The districts where the election will take place are Ajmer, Banswara, Barmer, Bhilwara, Bikaner, Bundi, Chittorgarh, Churu, Dungarpur, Hanumangarh, Jaisalmer, Jalore, Jhalawar, Jhunjhunu, Nagaur, Pali, Pratapgarh, Rajsamand, Sikar, Tonk and Udaipur.
The polling will take place from 7.30 am to 5 pm on November 23 under tight security arrangements. Over 25,000 EVMs will be used in at 10,131 polling stations and more than 50,000 employees will be deployed, Mehra said.
Counting of votes will be done on December 8.
Mehra appealed to the candidates and their supporters to strictly follow COVID-19 related guidelines during the poll process.