After Prime Minister Narendra Modi's gave out a stern message on the assault by BJP MLA Akash Vijayvargiya on a civic official, the Indore party office leaders on Tuesday, 2 July, claimed that Vijayvargiya was not welcomed upon his release, as opposed to his grand welcome caught on camera.
BJP MLA Akash Vijayvargiya was granted bail by Bhopal's Special Court on 29 June and was released from jail a day later.
He was arrested for assaulting a municipal corporation official with a cricket bat on Wednesday, 26 June.
‘Did Not Host the Welcome,’ Says BJP Indore Despite Evidence
Vijayvargiya was welcomed with garlands and sweets by his supporters – when he reached the BJP city office from the District Jail.
It triggered a verbal duel between the Congress and the BJP with the former accusing the latter of “favouring hooliganism”, while the saffron party said it was a ‘natural reaction from youngsters.’
The MLA got a similar reception later from relatives and friends when he reached his Nandanagar residence.
Some pictures showed a garlanded Akash being offered sweets by local BJP leader Gopikrishna Nema. Party MLA Ramesh Mendola and other party leaders were also present.
However, local BJP leaders seemed to have changed their tune after Modi said during a party meeting in Delhi on Tuesday that "whoever it may be, whoever's son he may be, such arrogance, misbehavior cannot be tolerated," PTI reported.
Mendola said, "Akash was not welcomed (after he got bail). No one went to welcome him.”
"“I had gone to the district jail Sunday morning to bring Akash, and took him home. We did not host the welcome function. We even don’t have permission for such a reception.”" - Ramesh Mendola, BJP MLA‘Mishandling From Both Sides’: Kailash Vijayvargiya
His father and BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya called the incident “unfortunate” and called it “mishandling from both the sides”.
He said during an interview with ANI, “I think there was mishandling from both the sides. Kachhe khiladi hain – Akash ji bhi aur nagar nigam commissioner (both Akash and the Nagar Nigam commissioner are inexperienced players). It wasn't a big issue but it was made huge.”
The incident took place after the locals were protesting against razing of a house when Akash, who was a part of the protest, warned the civic body staff of consequences if they do not leave the spot.
District prosecution officer Rajendra Upadhaya had said that the court asked the MLA to furnish a personal bail bond of Rs 50,000 in the case of assault and Rs 20,000 in the other case. He was remanded to custody till 7 July.
‘Do Not Have Any Regrets’
The BJP MLA, who is out on bail currently, said he does not regret the incident, but would try follow Mahatma Gandhi's path of non-violence while raising public issues in future.
In another interview to ANI, he further said that he “prays” he doesn’t get the chance to “bat again”.
"“In such a situation when a woman was being dragged in front of the police, I couldn’t think of doing anything else, I’m not embarrassed at what I did. But I pray to god ki vo dobara ballebazi karne ka avsar na de. (I pray to God that I don’t get a chance to bat again).”" - Akash Vijayvargiya to ANI.Amit Shah Seeks Report from MP BJP
Earlier, Union Home Minister and BJP President Amit Shah sought a report from the Madhya Pradesh BJP on the assault of a municipal official, NDTV reported.
Senior leaders of the party at the Centre have asked for the exact sequence of the events, NDTV reported quoting sources. After “studying all the facts of the case,” the party will take a call on what to do with the BJP MLA.
What Went Down
According to the eye-witnesses, the locals were protesting against razing of a house when Akash, who was a part of the protest, warned the civic body staff of consequences if they do not leave the spot.
After the video of the assault went viral on social media, police filed an FIR against Akash and 10 others.
He went about beating up the officer, with a cricket bat, even as media persons surrounded him with cameras and recorded the entire incident.
“You should leave within five minutes or else whatever happens after that will be your responsibility,” Vijayvargiya told the officers, according to NDTV.
Protests By Indore Municipal Corporation Employees
Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) employees held a demonstration by stopping their work, reported PTI.
Vijayvargiya said he had spoken to the municipal commissioner and sought extension for the tenants to stay in the house which authorities claimed was dilapidated.
"“The house was not in that bad condition. Some officials of the municipal corporation are razing even those houses which are in good condition by declaring them dilapidated. This is a conspiracy between owners of the houses and officials. They want to raze the houses so that leaders of the ruling Congress can take possession of the land. We are opposing this.” " - Akash Vijayvargiya, Madhya Pradesh BJP MLA
Meanwhile, a day after the incident, the city municipal corporation suspended 21 employees for allegedly supporting the MLA rather than protecting their colleagues.
Opposition Lashes Out
Condemning the incident, State Congress Spokesperson Neelabh Shukla said, “The lawmaker himself has broken the law. The incident has exposed the real face of the BJP. In a way, the incident has exposed the fissures within the BJP, as the IMC is represented by a BJP mayor.”
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath also slammed the BJP MLA and said, “It's really saddening that a BJP leader behaves in such a manner. I congratulate police for taking action. Law is same for everyone.”
‘Women Back BJP MLA, Accuse Civic Officials of Misbehaviour’
Meanwhile, the women whose house was to be razed down, said it was the result of “misbehaviour” by civic officials.
In a press conference, Sapna Shrivansh (40) and two other women from the family which lives in the house, held a press conference on Thursday, 27 June and supported the MLA.
"“Our family has been living in this rented house for 80 years. It was declared dilapidated by the municipal corporation and we were asked to vacate it within two days. We sought more time but the corporation did not heed our request.”" - Sapna Shrivansh, Building’s Resident
The demolition team entered the house forcibly and “misbehaved” with the women of the family, she alleged.
The other two women said that Akash reached the spot after learning about the incident and opposed the demolition.
“He took up the bat to protect women,” a woman said.
“We lodged a complaint against corporation officials at MG Road Police Station today. But the police has not registered a case so far,” said Shrivansh.
The police station incharge Rajendra Chaturvedi said, “We are investigating the complaint. Suitable steps would be taken after investigation.”
(With inputs from ANI, PTI and NDTV)
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