The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has gagged at least two of its senior leaders in Chhattisgarh after they slammed their own government for not taking the Comptroller and Auditor General's (CAG) report seriously, sources say.
Top sources in the BJP here said former union minister and Lok Sabha MP Ramesh Bais and the former Lok Sabha MP Karuna Shukla were advised by the party to "restrain" themselves from making public statements while supporting the CAG expose that has rapped the government in its report for causing heavy revenue losses to the state.
Bais, the chief whip of the BJP in the Lok Sabha, and Shukla, niece of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, came down heavily on the state government last week for brushing aside the CAG report.
The leaders had said last week at separate venues before mediapersons that the state government can't reject the expose by calling it "fictitious". They had also advised the government to desist from attacking the CAG over its expose.
"The party has taken a serious view over the remarks of certain seniors regarding the CAG report, if anyone has to say anything on the issue, the party forum is the best platform but making statements in public are unacceptable," a top source in the BJP told IANS.
A source said, "The party has talked to the leaders who were critical of the government over the CAG report and now they have agreed to put their views on the CAG issue only at key meetings of the state party unit to be held this month."
The CAG had in its report last week for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011, said the state-owned Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation (CMDC) accepted lower rates for commercial mining of coal blocks in the state which had led to a revenue loss of over Rs.1,000 crore. The report has also made serious comments against several other state-owned corporations.
Amid growing protest by the Congress which has sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the expose, a senior state BJP leader and chairman of the CMDC, Gaurishankar Agrawal, had termed the CAG report "fictitious" at a press conference last week that led to protests by some key leaders of the party.