AJAY SINGH, Rahul Bhaiya to his followers, tactfully evaded the top question doing the rounds in political circles currently - Is he in the race for chief ministership of Madhya Pradesh if Congress comes to power in the next election?
When confronted with this question at a meet the press here on Thursday, Ajay Singh, MLA from Churhat and the son and political heir of senior Congress leader Arjun Singh, said that this was not the time to ask this question.
“The time now is to strengthen the Congress party,” he said, and added that, “such decisions are taken at the Central level.” Ajay Singh’s evasiveness went to the extent that he even refused to give his personal opinion on whether or not anyone should be projected as a chief ministerial candidate prior to elections.
Singh, who was here to lead a dharna against the BJP Government’s failures, especially in providing urea and power to the farmers, also denied that former State Chief Minister Digvijay Singh had pointed at him as the next chief minister during a public meeting at Tikamgarh recently.
“He (Digvijay) was referring to the younger generation of Congress leaders and no one in particular when he said that ‘they’ would have to take up the mantle,” explained Ajay.
The question of Ajay Singh’s projection as the next Chief Minister came because of late he has been aking part in a series of public meetings across the State and also it is very rare that an MLA from Churhat is invited to lead an agitation in Indore.
Union Minister of State for Agriculture Kantilal Bhuria, who was also present, was equally evasive in his reply and said that, “Such things should be decided later.” What is more, he even dodged the question on whether he was in favour of a tribal chief minister.
However, Bhuria was more forthcoming in his condemnation of the BJP Government. He alleged that 50 per cent of the funds given by the Centre on various heads were being misused by the State Government – be it in the name of tribal development, urban development or employment generation.
He charged that despite the Centre giving Rs 80 to 100 crore under the Employment Guarantee Scheme in Jhabua, anywhere between two to three lakh tribals had left the district to look for jobs elsewhere.
However, he had no concrete proof to substantiate his allegation, and said that he had gathered the preliminary data from his inspection tours of various districts of the State.
He also expressed disappointment over the failure of the State Government to invite any representative from the Centre while inaugurating JNNURM projects, since they were being done through Central funds. Bhuria was referring to the fact that BJP leader L K Advani was slated to inaugurate JNNURM projects in Indore on Friday.
Replying to a query, Ajay Singh said that they had given enough time to the BJP to fulfill its poll promises, and now the problems of urea and power had reached such an extent that they had been forced to come to the streets to register protest.