Prajwal Revanna unlikely to appear on polling day: BJP | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Prajwal Revanna unlikely to appear on polling day: BJP

By, Bengaluru
May 07, 2024 03:38 AM IST

Prajwal, who has been booked in two cases of sexual assault, possibly flew abroad on April 27, a day after Phase 2 of Lok Sabha polls on a diplomatic passport

Days after the legal team representing Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna assured that he would appear before the Special Investigation Team (SIT) within seven days, a senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader has said that his return on the poll day would “politically impact” the NDA’s chances in the elections.

Prajwal Revanna possibly flew abroad on April 27, a day after the second phase of Lok Sabha polls on a diplomatic passport. (PTI)
Prajwal Revanna possibly flew abroad on April 27, a day after the second phase of Lok Sabha polls on a diplomatic passport. (PTI)

The 14 constituencies of northern districts of Karnataka will go to Lok Sabha elections on Tuesday.

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Prajwal, who has been booked in two cases of sexual assault, possibly flew abroad on April 27, a day after the second phase of Lok Sabha polls on a diplomatic passport.

The allegations of sexual harassment emerged in the hours following polling for the Hassan Lok Sabha seat, with close to 3,000 videos purportedly showing some of these incidents, leading the state government to put together an SIT.

On April 30, the SIT had issued a notice to appear before them for questioning within 24 hours. His advocate had sought for seven days’ time for him to appear before the SIT, but the team turned down the request.

A senior BJP leader on the condition of anonymity said: “There is a fear that Prajwal Revanna returning to India on the day of the election would politically impact both JD(S) and our chances in the Lok Sabha polls. When the sexual harassment case came out, the initial assessment was that it would be a local issue in Hassan, but between the two phases, the scandal has become a state… even national issue. We don’t know if there has been communication to Prajwal but there is an understanding that his arrest would be a distraction.”

Though elections have already taken place in the three constituencies in the state where the JD(S) fielded candidates, the Revanna case appears to have significantly tarnished the party’s public image, and in turn its ally BJP.

The BJP leader said that while the JD(S) lacks influence throughout north Karnataka, it does have a considerable voter base within specific pockets of parliamentary constituencies like Vijayapura, Ballari, Kalaburagi, and Raichur. “The JD(S) had limited campaigns in these regions. More than public rallies or meetings, it was mostly a campaign to mobilise JD(S) cadres using the local leaders,” he said.

The Congress calling out the Centre over the case has been an irritant for the BJP. A recent statement from the spokesperson of the MEA said that Prajwal did not seek political clearance for his travel, which is typically required in such circumstances, as he travelled using his diplomatic passport.

“No political clearance was sought from or issued by the ministry regarding Prajwal’s travel to Germany. Since diplomatic passport holders do not need a visa to travel to any country, no visa note was issued either,” the MEA spokesperson said.

Amid the controversy over Prajwal leaving the country, the BJP has concerns over his pictures with Prime Minister Narendra Modi going viral after the case came to light. The Congress has been making aggressive attempts to criticise Modi among his Lingayat supporters in the region.

“The voters can see through all the political statements. At the end of the day, they (voters) know who is trying to protect whom. People are talking about it, particularly the women. They are offended by the sexual harassment case and it would be decisive,” said a district office bearer of the Congress in Belagavi city.

Meanwhile, the Revanna case seem to have affected the BJP’s plans to attack Congress over the murder of 23-year-old Neha Hiremath by a Muslim youth in Hubballi on April 18. The BJP had made the communal pitch to the voters in north Karnataka after the murder, with home minister Amit Shah visiting the family during his campaign in the state. However, following the sexual abuse case, the buzz around the Hiremath murder case has drowned, according to local leaders of both parties.

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