Bhopal: In controversial remarks, senior BJP leader Gopal Bhargava on Monday sought to portray the October 21 bypoll in Madhya Pradesh's Jhabua assembly seat as a "fight between Pakistan and India" and not just a contest between the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP.
Bhargava asked the electorate in Jhabua to vote for BJP candidate Bhanu Bhuria as he "represents India" and said his rival Congress nominee "represents Pakistan". Seeking support for the BJP in tribal-dominated Jhabua, the Leader of the Opposition in the assembly told a public gathering, I with faith can say the country's respect is at stake right now. "It is not a fight between two parties. This is an election between India and Pakistan."
#WATCH Gopal Bhargava, BJP on Jhabua (Madhya Pradesh) assembly by-election: This election is not a contest between two parties but between India and Pakistan. Bhanu Bhuria (BJP candidate) represents India, & Kantilal Bhuria (Congress candidate) represents Pakistan. pic.twitter.com/2LGXvTyIoV— ANI (@ANI) September 30, 2019
Patting on shoulder of Bhanu Bhuria, who was by his side on the dais, Bhargava said, Our brother Bhanu represents Hindustan and Kantilal Bhuria (the Congress candidate) represents Pakistan.
Looking at the people assembled at the gathering in the Ragwada chowk area of Jhabua, the former minister said, "Raise your hands whether you are with Hindustan or Pakistan." To this, some in the audience responded by shouting "Bharat Mata Ki Jai".
"Make the BJP win or a message will go from here that Pakistan supporting governments...Congress is now a days supporting Pakistan on all issues. "If the Pakistan government supporters representative wins, and if Hindustani man — who is Bharatiya (Indian), who is tribal and works hard in villages gets defeated, friends this will amount to Indias and your defeat, Bhargava added.
In a related development, Congress candidate Kantilal Bhuria (68), a former Union Minister, and Bhanu Bhuria (36), a political greenhorn, on Monday filed their nomination papers for the assembly seat reserved for tribals. The by-election was necessitated after BJP's G S Damor had resigned as the Jhabua MLA after winning the Lok Sabha election from the Ratlam-Jhabua seat earlier this year.
(With PTI inputs)