Lucknow: A purported video of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Kumar Mishra in which he is heard warning agitating farmers that he would discipline them in "two minutes" appears to have angered farmers even before Sunday's violent clashes in Lakhimpur Kheri.
"Face me, it will take just two minutes to discipline you fellows," the two-time BJP MP from Kheri is heard allegedly saying in the video.
"I am not only a minister or a MP and MLA...People who know me even before I became a Parliamentarian know that I never run away from taking a challenge. The day I accept the challenge you all have to leave not only Palia (a place) but Lakhimpur itself," he is heard saying in the video.
A source said Mishra's speech came in the backdrop of some farmers showing him black flags in Palia locality in his Kheri Parliamentary constituency where he had gone to address a public meeting there late last month.
Since then farmers have been up in arms against him and on Sunday while protesting against the visit of Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya in Mishra's native village Banbirpur violence erupted resulting in eight deaths, the sources said.
Local farmer leader Gurmit Singh told a TV channel that on September 25, members of Krantikari Kisan union and Bhartiya Kisan Union had shown Mishra black flags following which the minister had allegedly threatened to deal with them.
He said upon coming to know about Maurya's programme, the farmers sat on a dharna peacefully near the helipad where he was scheduled to arrive. When the farmers came to know that Maurya was coming by road, the farmers stood in protest at a three km stretch on his travel route in the course of which the dastardly incident happened the previous day.
Singh alleged that Mishra's son and his supporters "trampled farmers to death under wheels of their SUVs".
Farmer leaders had claimed that the minister's son Ashish Mishra was in one of the cars which allegedly knocked down some protesters who were opposing the deputy CM's visit.
However, Ajay Mishra said he and his son were not present at the spot as alleged by some farmer leaders and he has photo and video evidence to prove it.
Ajay Mishra had also claimed that extremist organisations like the Babbar Khalsa have infiltrated into the farmers' protest
An FIR has been registered against Ashish Mishra and others in connection with the incident.
Some criminal cases, including that of murder, were lodged against 61-year-old Ajay Mishra in the past but he was cleared by the court in those related to murder allegations.
Starting his political innings as a panchayat member, Ajay Mishra was elected as BJP MLA from Vidhasan Assembly seat in Lakhimpur Kheri district in 2012.
The party nominated him for the 2014 Lok Sabha poll from Kheri seat which he won then and also in the last Parliamentary election in 2019.
He was inducted in Prime Minister Narendra Modi cabinet in July last and given a key berth as Minister of State for Home.
The saffron party projected him as a prominent Brahmin leader and organised several public meetings for him to drum up support in the upcoming state election.