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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Chouhan makes Delhi trip as scam dents his image

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Bhopal, June 25, 2014
First Published: 15:02 IST(25/6/2014) | Last Updated: 16:33 IST(31/7/2014)

In the middle of a politically surcharged atmosphere in the state, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s sudden visit to Delhi on Tuesday has raised speculations over the motive behind his journey.

BJP sources maintained it was a routine visit and nothing beyond the obvious should be read into it. Sources in the chief minister’s office further maintained it was a prior engagement and that he was supposed to meet Union urban development minister Nitin Gadkari in Delhi.

But sceptics pointed out that he had met Gadkari only a couple of days back in Khajuraho during the training session of BJP MLAs and MPs from the state. They also claimed the chief minister had far more important engagements in Bhopal itself.

They pointed out that not only was it the weekly cabinet meeting day, which had to be postponed, the chief minister also skipped the important inaugural session of the national executive meeting of the party’s minorities cell in which Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was present.

Congress media in-charge Manak Agrawal also said according to his information the chief minister was summoned by the party’s central leadership to clarify his position following allegations of his involvement in the PEB scam.

In an effort to quash all such rumours, the state’s public relations department put up pictures of the chief minister with Union ministers including Gadkari, Prakash Javdekar and Radha Mohan Singh. A news item was also put up which highlighted the demands put forward by Chouhan to each of the ministers.

Later, Chouhan also tweeted about his meeting with Gadkari and others. A senior BJP leader, though, said on the condition anonymity: “Problems are obviously rising for the chief minister.

He is not only facing flak for the PEB scam, but the choice of the party’s new state president is also an issue. With leaders like Prabhat Jha going all out to reclaim the position, the chief minister could not take it lightly either.

Then, there could be questions on corruption in MP in reference to the PEB scam in Parliament and he would like to apprise the party leaders about the case before it becomes a bigger issue.”

Sadhna Singh: The queen of controversy

Looking at Chouhan’s tenure as chief minister, one thing is abundantly clear: he seems to have been hit by controversies not so much for his own actions, but that of the alleged transgressions of his wife Sadhna Singh.

She has been in the centre of political attacks by the Congress Party in the past. She has been dragged into controversies time and again, fuelling anger of Chouhan who each time responded with legal action.

Starting with the dumper scam to the controversy over the warehouse owned by her to that of the alleged patronage to the mining mafia and now the Professional Examination Board (PEB) scam, her name has figured everywhere, much to the chagrin of the chief minister who believes she is being targeted by the Congress more to embarrass him. But somehow, the allegations surrounding Sadhna Singh refuse to die down.

What is PEB scam

For all those who are still wondering what the Vyapam scam is all about, Sandipan Sharma puts together a reader’s guide to the mother of all scandals.


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