A day after BJP rebel Ladulal Pitliya withdrew nomination as an independent candidate in the Sahada assembly bypoll, a video clip and a letter circulating on social media suggest he pulled out of the elections as “the BJP was mounting pressure” on him, and his family was being harassed. An audio clip has also surfaced online in which he is purportedly repeating his allegations, and requesting Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to provide protection to his family. While Pitliya remained unavailable for comment despite repeated attempts, the BJP described the letter “a conspiracy” by Congress leaders. In his purported handwritten letter to Gehlot, Pitliya has alleged that his family has been facing problems and threats after he filed his nomination as an independent candidate from Sahada. He alleged he was threatened to withdraw his nomination.
In the video clip that has gone viral on social media, he is heard saying, “I filed nomination as an independent only to serve the Sahada assembly constituency and I have withdrawn the nomination as my family was under some pressure. I will keep working in Sahada assembly constituency.” The bypoll to the seat was necessitated by the demise of sitting Congress MLA Kailash Trivedi. The Congress has fielded Trivedi’s wife Gayatri Devi. Pitliya had rebelled against the BJP during the 2018 state elections after he was denied a party ticket. The BJP lost the seat in the 2018 polls. Pitliya was denied the BJP ticket for this bypoll as well after which he had filed his nomination as an independent. However, he withdrew his paper suddenly on Friday. After he pulled out of the polls, the BJP in a statement had said Friday the party respects him and he will be given a deserving responsibility. He will continue to serve the BJP as he has faith in the public welfare policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the party had said.
Reacting to the latter and electronic clips, BJP state secretary Shravan Singh Bagdi who was present with Pitliya at the time of his nomination withdrawal, said on Saturday, “The viral letter is a false rumor. It is a conspiracy of Congress leaders. With the blessings of all sections of the society, the BJP will register a spectacular victory in Sahada.” Reacting on the matter, independent legislator from Sirohi, Sanyam Lodha wrote in Hindi on social media, “It is not necessary that the result will go in favour of a party that got a candidate to withdraw his nomination. The move will turn out against the BJP in Sahada assembly seat bye-election.” Congress state president Govind Singh Dotasra had claimed on Friday the independent candidate was threatened into withdrawing his nomination. “The BJP, which pretends to be a policy and morality based party, is fearing defeat so much that they threatened the independent candidate Ladulal Pitliya in the Sahada by-election and withdrew his nomination,” Dotasra had said in a tweet. According to poll officials, 2,47,400 people — 1,24,100 men and 1,23,300 women — are eligible to vote in the bypolls. Twenty-one candidates had filed their papers for the bypolls. The last date for the withdrawal of nominations is April 3. While the voting will be held on April 17, the counting will take place on May 2.