The Congress on Wednesday boycotted the Madhya Pradesh governor’s address to the assembly and party workers took to the streets as the opposition party stepped up its attack on the government over the high-profile examination and recruitment scam.
Police used water cannons and even wielded the cane on Congress workers who tried to march towards the assembly demanding the resignation of governor Ramnaresh Yadav and chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for their alleged involvement in the scam.
The Congress has upped the ante after party leaders including Digvijaya Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamal Nath alleged that Chouhan’s name had figured repeatedly in the original excel-sheet seized from the computer of a scam accused but later “struck out”.
The Congress has demanded a CBI probe into the scam and resignation of Chouhan, a BJP stalwart who led the state to three consecutive victories in assembly elections.
The scam in the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), the state organisation that conducts tests for a wide range of courses and jobs, involved multiple rackets that helped candidates rig the examinations for money, including employing imposters to write test papers, manipulating sitting arrangements as well as supplying forged answer sheets.
The drama started when the House assembled on Wednesday for the governor’s address on the inaugural day of the budget session.
As soon as the governor started reading out his address, Congress members rose in protest saying he was directly involved in the scam and has no moral right to address the “august House”.
Ruling BJP MLAs shot back saying that such a “shameful thing” had never taken place in the MP assembly before.
However, the Congress legislators were in no mood to relent and they trooped out of the House leaving the governor to hastily read the first and last lines of his address.
Later in the day, the BJP strongly defended Chouhan and dismissed the excel-sheet furnished by the Congress as “fake”.
“The excel-sheet produced by Congress leaders without revealing its source is ‘farzi’ (fake) and an attempt to malign the image of the chief minister…,” state BJP president Nandkumar Singh Chouhan told reporters.
Former chief minister and AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh, who led the street protests, dubbed the irregularities in the PEB as the “biggest scam of Asia and bigger than Bihar’s fodder scam”.
“The BJP government used the police to brutally beat our leaders. The fight will continue till Chouhan resigns,” said state Youth Congress chief Kunal Chaudhary.
(With PTI inputs)