Rajat Sharma

Why Teni must go?

AKBA shameful incident took place in Lakhimpur Kheri of Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, when Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra Teni abused a journalist, used cuss words, grabbed him by his collar and snatched his phone, when he asked about his son’s case. All this happened in front of cameras, and the video soon went viral evoking strong reactions.

Teni, the BJP MP from Lakhimpur Kheri, came to limelight on October 3, when his son Ashish Mishra alias Monu allegedly ran his vehicle into a crowd of protesters, killing eight people including four farmers. The Special Investigation Team of UP Police in its report has said, the incident was well-planned and a deliberate act, and not of negligence or callousness. The SIT has sought the court’s permission to include attempt to murder charges against the accused. Thirteen accused persons, including the minister’s son, are presently in jail.

In the video, the minister was asked by a journalist about the SIT report and whether he would now resign. The minister lost his cool and called mediapersons ‘thieves’. Teni was enraged more so because this question was being put to him in front of his followers in his own constituency. The minister said: “Do not ask questions like a fool. Have you lost your mental balance? I will beat you up here. What do you want to know? You turned an innocent person into an accused. Aren’t you ashamed?”

Clearly, Teni was angry because of questions that he thought were uncomfortable. In anger, he forgot that he was the Union Minister of State for Home. His loutish manner came to the fore, as he lunged at the reporter shouting abuses. It was Teni, who had been claiming since October 3 that he would resign if his son was found guilty. Now that the SIT probe under supervision of the Supreme Court has found the incident to be a “pre-planned conspiracy”, the minister finds himself cornered. He is heard saying nonchalantly whether any chargesheet has been filed, or whether the court has found him guilty.

The chargesheet is going to come soon, latest by January 2, when the 90 days’ window for filing chargesheet ends. My information is that police is going to file chargesheet anytime next week. It is difficult to predict what Teni will say at that time. Meanwhile, the BJP leadership has taken this matter seriously and Teni has been summoned to meet the party president.

The opposition took the cue and raised a ruckus in Parliament, demanding dismissal of the minister. Opposition leaders Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav and Asaduddin Owaisi demanded his dismissal. Union Minister Piyush Goyal said, since the matter was sub judice, and the probe is being monitored by Supreme Court, the matter cannot be discussed in Parliament.

It seems Teni has this habit of committing mistakes, and punishing others for his acts. To shut down cameras, to abuse mediapersons when asked about his son’s case, is nothing but sheer thuggery. The day his son’s car ran his vehicle into the crowd of protesting farmers, the minister claimed that his son was busy at a ‘dangal’(wrestling bout). Now that the SIT report filed by a senior UP police officer has come, which nails his lie, questions are bound to be raised. Teni should have resigned from his office on moral grounds. He is a minister in the Union Council of Ministers, and should not become an embarrassment for the party and government.

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