Jaipur: A Congress MLA in Rajasthan has invited trouble for her party just three months after it formed its government there. A video that has gone viral shows the MLA, Divya Maderna, a political greenhorn, asking a woman sarpanch to vacate a seat beside her and sit on the floor with local people.
Chandu Devi, the sarpanch of Khetasar, is then seen going and sitting on the floor. In a video statement, Chandu said she was left stressed by the incident.
Maderna, who represents the Osian Assembly seat, was visiting Khetasar village in Osian near Jodhpur for a “Dhanyawaad Sabha”. The objective was to connect with her supporters and galvanise party cadres ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. But instead of thanking her voters, she ended up inviting their ire.
All people are equal some are more equal – #Congress MLA from Osian #DivyaMaderna tells Khetasar sarpanch – Chandu Devi to get off from the chair next to her and sit on the floor in front of her. @DivyaMaderna@INCIndia pic.twitter.com/5618XErYvD
— Sangeeta Pranvendra (@sangpran) March 18, 2019
Interestingly, the Congress MLA later argued that “Devi was just a BJP worker”.
The MLA’s move could not have come at a worse time for the Congress in Rajasthan where it is fighting a spirited campaign launched by the opposition BJP for the Lok Sabha polls. Caste and community equations play a critical role in Rajasthan politics and the latest episode has left the Congress red-faced.
“Chandu initially sat on the floor but then people told her she should sit next to the MLA, since she is a sarpanch,” Devi’s husband Rooparam told The Indian Express. “So she went to sit with the MLA but the MLA gestured her to go, so she left her chair and went back to siting among the people for the rest of the sabha.” Rooparam said Devi did not protest “as she is a simple lady and did not want to disrespect the MLA, who had come to the village for the first time”.
Maderna defeated incumbent BJP MLA Bhera Ram Chaudhary in the Assembly elections in December. She is the daughter of jailed Congress leader Mahipal Maderna, who is in jail in the Bhanwari Devi murder case.