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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

BJP’s Madhavi Latha Asks Muslim Women To Show Face For ID Check, Sparks Row

Kompella Madhavi Latha, BJP’s firebrand candidate from Hyderabad, faces a police case after a video showed her asking burqa-clad Muslim women at a polling booth to reveal their faces so that she can match them with the photographs on their voter ID cards. 

The case has been registered under relavant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Representation of the People Act. The Hyderabad Collector’s office has confirmed in a post on X that a case against the BJP candidate has been registered in Malakpet Police Station.

Ms Madhavi Latha is among the most-talked-about candidates in the fourth phase of Lok Sabha polls that is underway today. She is up against a formidable candidate — four-time MP from Hyderabad and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi.

District Election Officer Ronald Ross earlier told NDTV that police will be registering an FIR against Ms Madhavi Latha because no candidate has the right to lift someone’s veil to check her identity. If there is a suspicion, a candidate can ask the polling officer to verify a voter’s identity, he said.

The BJP candidate, however, has told news agency ANI that a candidate has the right to check voter ID cards. “I am a candidate. As per law, a candidate has the right to check ID cards without facemasks. I am not a man, I am a woman and with a lot of humility, I requested them. If somebody wants to make a big issue out of it, it means they are scared,” she said.

Mr Owaisi has not commented on the incident yet, but shared the viral video on his Twitter timeline.

The BJP candidate has alleged discrepancies in voters’ list. “The police personnel seem very dull, they are not active. They are not checking anything. Senior citizen voters are coming here, but their names have been deleted from the list,” she told ANI.

The viral videos are playing out against the backdrop of a polarised contest in Hyderabad, a Muslim-dominated seat and a family stronghold of Asaduddin Owaisi. In the run-up to the election, Ms Madhavi Latha had said she was hopeful of the support of Muslim voters too because the BJP has spoken about triple talaq and jobs for Muslim youngsters. The viral videos and the row surrounding them are likely to hit her outreach to minority voters.

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