Even as the spat between Samajwadi Party leaders Amar Singh and Azam Khan escalates by the hour, Uttar Pradesh cops on Monday night added a new twist to the controversy by carrying out a raid in the hotel being used as a temporary home by actor-turned-SP nominee Jaya Prada.
The local police attributed the raid to reports about distribution of money to voters from the hotel.
"We got tip off about some money transaction taking place at the hotel. Therefore, we carried out a raid, but eventually it turned out to be a false alarm," Rampur superintendent of police Jyoti Narain told rediff.com.
He claimed that the purpose of the raid was also to ensure that outsiders involved in election campaign had moved out of Rampur as per the directives of the Election Commission.
"Therefore, there was nothing unusual or special about the raid, yet Samajwadi Party activists took serious offence to the raid for no rhyme or reason, and staged unnecessary protests until about 2 am," he added.
A similar raid had been carried out on the same hotel on Saturday as well. The SP then claimed that the raid was necessitated following reports about the hotel being used as a hideout by some outlaws from Mumbai. However, cops drew a naught even on that day, leaving Jaya Prada fuming.
"Just imagine, how you would feel if your hotel were to be raided at the dead of the night and the cops go about searching through your clothes and belongings as if you were a criminal or terrorist," Jaya had then complained.
A repeat act by the cops on Monday night had further chagrined the supporters of the actress. "What were the cops achieving out of the raids other than causing humiliation to our people," remarked Mohd Mustafa, Jaya's media adviser.
Sandeep Agarwal, Samajwadi Party MLA from the neighbouring Moradabad constituency and party activist Veena Bharadwaj were also vehemently critical of the raid.
"The raids were being engineered by the Congress party to defame us, but we are not the types to get cowed down by such tactics," asserted Agarwal.