Bhopal: Post-Lok Sabha elections, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath has turned heat on the BJP by declaring to dig out old cases against some Opposition leaders, taking political pundits by surprise.
The unusual show of aggression by Mr Nath, said to have been triggered by BJP’s demand for a floor test of his government, has left the saffron party as well as a section of the ruling Congress intrigued.
The chief minister had dropped hints that he would shun witch hunting against the Opposition leaders and focus on development when he assumed office in December last year.
He had even risked isolation in the Congress by shooting down demand by a powerful section of the party to go after senior BJP leaders in Madhya Pradesh by ordering fresh probes into cases such as Vyapam scandal and e-tendering scam.
“I do not believe in politics of witch hunting. I will focus on development,” was his common refrain.
His stand had however angered a powerful factional leader in the party threatening to push him to isolation in the Congress.
His initial “bonhomie” with former chief minister and BJP national vice-president Shivraj Singh Chouhan had showed signs of breaking when the latter made the alleged failure of the state government to waive farm loans in Madhya Pradesh, a major poll issue in the just-concluded LS elections.
With the loan waiver issue threatening to boomerang on the ruling Congress in the recently held LS polls in MP, the state government instituted a probe into the multi-crore e-tendering scam that took place in the previous Shivraj Singh Chouhan involving alleged tampering with the biddings called for various projects.
Later, the chief minister had also dropped hints on ordering a fresh probe into the Vyapam scam, involving corruption in admissions in various medical colleges in the state and recruitments in various departments of state government during the previous Shivraj Singh Chouhan government.
The latest provocation for the state government’s decision to reopen the 12-year-old case relating to the murder of RSS leader Sunil Joshi, in which BJP’s Bhopal candidate Pragya Singh Thakur along with seven others was acquitted, was said to be the demand for floor test of the Kamal Nath government by the BJP.
“The chief minister is trying to intimidate BJP leaders by threatening to reopen closed cases and order fresh probes into cases where no FIRs have been filed. Who has stopped him from ordering probes into such cases?” BJP spokesman here Rajneesh Agrawal said.
“It reflects the chief minister’s insecure mind in the wake of intensifying infighting in the Congress. The exit polls which predicted a good show by the BJP in LS polls in MP have also unnerved the chief minister, leading him to turn heat on BJP to keep his flock in the party together,” he added.
The Congress has however dismissed the charges of political vendetta launched by the state government against the BJP.
“The floor test demand has rather exposed infighting in the BJP,” Congress spokesman Pankaj Chaturvedy said.
He was referring to opposition to the demand raised by BJP Legislature Party leader Gopal Bhargav by former chief minister and BJP national vice-president Shivraj Singh Chouhan.