A video purportedly showing a group of Muslim men in a mosque pledging their support to the TRS in the upcoming Telangana assembly polls in the presence of a state minister has gone viral, prompting the Chief Electoral Officer to order a probe.
Some people in the video are seen promising Transport Minister in the caretaker government Patnam Mahender Reddy their vote and the latter thanking them for their support. Reddy will be the party’s candidate for the Thandur seat.
“There were some newspaper reports and complaints have also been made. Now, since the model code of conduct is not on, if a voter takes the oath, I don’t think it falls within the purview of the electoral code violation. But we have asked the district electoral officer concerned to give a report on that,” state’s CEO Rajat Kumar told PTI.
He said if there was some violation like inducements being made, necessary action will follow. Mahender Reddy could not be contacted immediately for comments.
Opposition parties, meanwhile, alleged that TRS chief and caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao and other leaders were doing “communal politics” and engaging in “cheap tricks” to win the elections.
Telangana Congress spokesperson Sravan Dasoju said the party has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission and he has also personally tweeted to the poll panel asking as to why it is not stepping in to check such practices and “manipulations”.
“The TRS, out of the fear of failure, is resorting to this kind of anti-Constitution practice which is detrimental to the principles of secret ballot. This is cheap way of manipulating people. KCR is now scared and has realised that he committed a mistake by calling early polls,” Dasoju said.
State BJP spokesperson Krishna Saagar Rao said the video reflected the politics of “Muslim appeasement” by TRS leaders.
“It’s a clear violation of Representation of People Act. KCR seems to be the role model for leaders such as this (Mahender Reddy). It is a brazen violation of the law of the land to seek votes on the basis of religion,” Rao said, adding the BJP condemned such “low-level politics”.
Rao said his party will explore legal options so stern action is taken against Reddy.