As two Uttar Pradesh ministers of the Yogi Adityanath cabinet watched in silence, Ranjeet Kumar Srivastava, the outgoing chairperson of the Nawabganj Nagar Palika, openly threatened Muslims at a rally earlier this week. He gave Muslim voters the ultimatum of either voting for his wife Shashi Srivastava, who is contesting the civic polls to be held later this month in Barabanki, or face "unforetold difficulties."
The Indian Express published a part of his speech, which is nothing short of alarming.
"Samajwadi ki sarkar nahi hai. Yahan par tum jaa kar ke DM, SP se apna kaam nahi kara sakte ho. Yahan par tumhara koi neta tumhari koi madad nahi kar sakta hai. Sadak, khadanja, naali nagar palika ka kaam hai. Doosri bhi kuch museebatein tumhare upar aa sakti hain. Aaj tumhara koi pairokar BJP ke andar nahi hai. Agar hamare sabhasadon ko tumne bagair bhedbhao ke chunav nahin jitaya... Agar Ranjeet Sahab ki patni ko tumne vote de kar ke chunav nahi jitaya... To yeh doori jo tum banane ja rahe ho, ab agar yeh doori banegi to tumko Samajwadi Party bachane nahi aayegi. BJP ka shashankaal hai. Jo kasht tumko nahi jhelne pade the, woh kasht tumko uthane pad sakte hain."
He essentially told Muslims that if they did not vote for Shashi Srivastava, the Samajwadi Party, not in power any more in the state, will not "be able to save them".
He went on to say that he was not begging for their votes, but simply informing them that if they voted for his wife, they'll be untouched, but if they didn't, there will be "difficulties".
Srivastava later told ETV that he didn't threaten Muslims but "was just trying to make them understand that there is a huge difference between Hindu and Muslims and these differences should come to an end."
Ministers Dara Singh Chauhan and Ramapati Shastri were present on the stage when Srivastava made the threats.