In another instance of the flagrant VIP culture in India, BJP MLA from Mau, Sriram Sonkar, hit a traffic home guard after an argument over breaking of traffic rules.
The traffic home guard Premshanker Sahi stopped Sonkar’s car as it was driving on the wrong side of a one-way route. He said, “I went up to the car and said that it is a one way and asked him to follow the rule. I told him to take a u-turn and come from the other side.” According to Sahi, a person sitting inside the car started hurling abuses and at him and snatched away the cell- phone on which the incident had been recorded. When asked to behave and follow the rules Sonkar got out of the car and slapped Sahi and his colleagues. Sriram was unavailable for comment.
This incident follows on the heels of an altercation on April 20th where BJP MLA Rakesh Rathore slapped a toll plaza employee. Reports emerged that the MLA had been drunk during the incident. Rathore denied these claims stating that the person in the video was Mahendra Yadav, a Samajwadi Party Leader.
In February, NDTV reported that the husband of a BJP lawmaker from Rajasthan slapped a policeman over a traffic fine imposed on his wife Chandrakanta Meghwal.
In the aforementioned incident Sriram allegedly said that his status as an elected representative would allow him to break traffic laws in the future.
Indian politics has been plagued with instances of politicians misusing their authority to bend rules.
The one that got the nation’s goat was when Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad hit a senior Air India staffer in April. Several private airlines had later banned the MP after Air India refused to have him on board.
There have been numerous instances of politicians blocking traffic and inconveniencing citizens. In May, the Narendra Modi government decided to ban the use of red beacons, used by VVIP’s to claim special privileges. Chief Ministers like Arvind Kejriwal, Yogi Adityanath and Captain Amarinder Singh followed suit and banned the beacons in their states.
However, incidents like the altercation in UP show that most politicians still see themselves being above the law.