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Bhagpat Zila Panchayat election candidate alleges she was coerced to join BJP

In a dramatic turn of events, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD)-Samajwadi Party (SP)-supported candidate in the upcoming Baghpat Zila Panchayat elections alleged on Saturday that she and her husband were kidnapped and forced to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

However, they claimed they somehow managed to escape from the Delhi residence of the BJP MP from Baghpat, Satyapal Singh.

Jai Kishore, husband of the RLD supported candidate Mamta Kishore, told reporters that they were forcibly taken to the residence of Mr. Singh in the wee hours of Saturday. Ms. Kishore held a press conference in Baghpat and filed her nomination for the seat.

“We were draped with BJP stoles and photographed with Mr Singh. When we resisted, we were told that false cases will be filed against us and that our life would become hell. We somehow managed to escape from their custody and reached the RLD office in Baghpat. I am a true soldier of the party,” claimed Mr. Kishore.

BJP district president Suraj Pal Gurjar denied the charges. “The duo went to the MP’s house on their own. It is apparent from the pictures that went viral on social media. They were seeking the president’s post but when Mr. Singh said it was not possible, they possibly changed their mind. It is just a drama,” he said.

Manish Kumar Mishra, Additional Superintendent of Police, Baghpat described the incident as “political” in nature and said, “the police have no role as of now”.

Baghpat Zila Panchayat president’s seat is reserved for a female Scheduled Caste candidate. In the recently held Panchayat elections, out of the 20 seats in the Zila Panchayat, seven were won by RLD supported candidates, four by Samajwadi Party supported candidates, four seats were won by candidates backed by the BJP, one by the Bahujan Samaj Party, and four were independents.

Interestingly, out of 20, only two women candidates emerged victorious — Babli, backed by the SP, and Mamta Kishore, supported by the RLD. “Babli has already shifted allegiance to the BJP and after forcing Mamta to shift sides, the BJP's game plan was to win the presidentship from the back door. It is naked use of power and the local administration is being used to exert pressure,” said Sunil Rohata, spokesperson of RLD, adding the party is considering approaching the court and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes.

“Her papers have been accepted. Now our job is to protect her till tomorrow, the last date of withdrawing the name from the contest,” said senior RLD leader Ajay Tomar.

Mr. Gurjar expressed confidence that his party could still wrest the plum post in the election scheduled on July 3.

Meanwhile, in Bulandshahr, U.P. police detained 21 Zila Panchayat members and filed an FIR for violating Section 144 and Sections of the Epidemic Act. Some of the members owed allegiance to the Samajwadi Party and the RLD, while others were independents. They were holding a meeting ahead of the election for the post of Zila Panchayat president scheduled on July 3.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 7:57:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bhagpat-zila-panchayat-election-candidate-alleges-she-was-coerced-to-join-bjp/article34991324.ece

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