An IAS officer was transferred in Chhattisgarh on Saturday after he publicly questioned the achievements of the founder-member of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, the forerunner of the ruling BJP in the state.
Shiv Anant Tayal, a 2012 batch IAS officer posted in south Chhattisgarh, had made the comments on Upadhyaya in a Facebook post saying he “can’t find a single work of his (Pt Upadhyaya) authorship or scholarship to gauge his ideological stance and that there is not a single election where he won by a popular vote”.
The officer also quoted a repository written by historian Ram Chandra Guha in his book ‘Makers of Modern India’ where “there is no mention of Upadhyaya”.
Tayal, who deleted the post after it created a storm on social media, was shunted out as the chief executive officer of Kanker district panchayat, an official said.
“The government has taken cognizance of the officer’s post and has expressed displeasure. He has been issued a show cause notice and has been transferred to the state secretariat,” the state government spokesperson told Hindustan Times.
Ever since coming to power at the Centre, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre has been trying to promote people whom it considers the icons of its ideology. The Centre has launched social schemes in the name of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and tried to highlight his vision by incorporating his life in school text books.
“It is a sign of immaturity and shows a lack of understanding. Officials should desist from making such statements on public platforms. The government is working on Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s ideals,” said Sanjay Srivastava, president of the BJP’s Chhattisgarh unit.
Another party leader said that during the party’s recent national council meeting at Kozhikode, the party cited Upadhyaya as an “ideal icon for the younger generation” and the IAS officer had run “misinformation” on the social media site.
The IAS officer, who couldn’t be reached for his comments, posted an apology on Friday.
“I raised some spontaneous questions on Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyay. It was never an intention to raise questions on credibility of stalwarts or to offend anyone. Nevertheless if that happened, I am deeply apologetic and express regret”, he wrote on his post.
Tayal’s post about Upadhyaya came after another IAS officer in BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh, Alex Paul Menon was served a show cause notice by the state government in July for “casting aspersions” on the criminal justice system on a FB post in June. “Is there a bias in India’s legal system with 94 per cent of those on death sentence being either Dalits or Muslims,” he had written.
Social media comments by bureaucrats in recent months have triggered several controversies across the country.
Bastar collector Amit Kataria faced criticism after alleging that an attack on AAP leader and tribal activist Soni Sori was stage-managed and he was forced to withdraw the remark.
A collector in Madhya Pradesh Ajay Gangwar had “liked” a FB comment that was critical of PM Narendra Modi and praised the nation’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Gangwar was also transferred by the BJP government in the state.