Days after joining the Congress party, former BJP MP Kirti Azad sparked off a major controversy after he said that party workers used to loot polling booth for former Congress leader Nagendra. "In those days, booths were looted, Congress workers used to loot polling booths for Nagendraji (former Congress leader). Booths were looted for my father as well and in 1999, for me also. EVMs had not been introduced then," Azad said.
The BJP on Wednesday took a dig at cricketer-turned-politician Kirti Azad for his comment. Azad, whose father Bhagwat Jha Azad was a member of the Indira Gandhi Cabinet and had served as the Chief Minister of Bihar in the 1980s, had made the utterance at Darbhanga, his parliamentary constituency, on Tuesday a day after he was inducted into the Congress by Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi.
A three-time BJP MP from Darbhanga, Azad who had been associated with the BJP for over a decade was suspended from the party in 2015 after he made accusations against Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in connection with alleged irregularities in the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA).
"Azad has admitted that booth capturing is a part of the Congress culture. Never were such electoral practices resorted to while he was with the BJP. He used to win elections on our party’s ticket chanting Bharat Mata Ki Jai. Now he would be trying his luck by saying Sonia Mata Ki Jai," Bihar BJP president Nityanand Rai told reporters.
The former test cricketer, however, issued a clarification saying, "I never meant to say that booths were captured for my father. When I uttered booth looted I was referring to the dedication with which party workers used to manage booths for my father. I was trying to express how I felt at home in Congress despite having joined the party only a couple of days ago."
Congress MLC Prem Chandra Mishra, who was approached with queries on the episode outside the Legislative Council premises in Patna, termed it as a slip of the tongue. "Nobody can say that Congress captured booths. Had we resorted to such means we would have never lost power," he said.