Chhattisgarh Congress MLA Kawasi Lakhma was seen giving a rather surprising piece of advice to school children in his Konta assembly constituency, Sukma district in Chattisgarh.
In a video which has been doing the rounds on social media, Kawasi, during an interaction with school children on the occasion of Teachers’ Day, is heard saying to a child who fancies of becoming a politician when he grows up: “One needs to grab the collars of SPs and Collectors to become a successful Neta like me”. The child had apparently asked the MLA as to what needs to be done to become a successful politician?
The video was reportedly shot in Pavaras government school, Sukma on Teachers’ Day where Lakma was invited as a chief guest.
This is, however, not the first time Kawasi Lakhma has been caught issuing controversial statements. During the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections, the Election Commission of India had issued a notice to Congress MLA Kawasi Lakhma for his controversial comment on the functioning of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) misleading voters. The five-time MLA from Konta seat in Sukma district had then allegedly said that voters will suffer electric shock upon pressing the second button of the EVM.
“Press the first button, pressing the second button will give you an electric shock,” said the state excise, and commerce and industry minister while speaking at an election rally at Korar in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district in April this year.
It is pertinent to note here, that Lakhma is the same MLA who had in February written to CM Bhupesh Baghel claiming that an incident in Bastar, where a woman was killed and another was injured after allegedly being caught in a crossfire between Naxals and security forces, was a deliberate act by security forces to target and kill innocent adivasi villagers.
Lakhma has reportedly written that incidents like this would make the Adivasis ‘lose their confidence’ in the government. He has also asked for action to be taken against the CRPF personnel involved in the shooting.
This was, however, not the first incident where the Congress MLA had alleged a fake encounter. In August 2018, Congress, then in the opposition, had claimed that the Sukma encounter by CRPF, where 15 Naxals were allegedly killed, was a fake encounter too. Congress had even formed an 18-member team to look into the encounter where Lakhma was a member too. They had claimed that the BJP government in the state is against the tribals of the state and is creating ‘fake encounters’ to paint innocent villagers as Naxals.
Over the years, Lakhma has been involved in many such teams and his stand over anti-Naxals operation has remained the same, that the CRPF is targeting innocent Adivasis.
In 2013, almost the entire top brass of Chhattisgarh Congress was wiped out when over 250 Naxals had ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders in the Jiram ghat area near Jagdalpur. 27 people were killed, mostly senior Congress leaders from the state. Interestingly, Kawasi Lakhma, the MLA from Konta, was the only one who has managed to survive. Lakhma was even suspected of involvement and was also questioned later, but was cleared in the NIA probe for lack of proof.