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Land to Sangh: MP minister dares CM

The BJP Govt in MP has been doling out lands worth hundreds of crore to Sangh Parivar outfits for the last three years despite vehement protests by the opposition.

india Updated: Oct 11, 2008 00:12 IST
Ranjan and Manish Dixit

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Madhya Pradesh has been doling out lands worth hundreds of crore to Sangh Parivar outfits for the last three years despite vehement protests by the opposition.

But the last in a series of such deals created ripples in the state, as it pitted Chief Minister Shivraj Singh against his own ministerial colleagues, led by food minister Akhand Pratap Singh.

On Wednesday, the food minister challenged the CM's decision to allot 13.766 acres in CM's constituency Budhni in Sehore district to Narmada Samagra, a trust set up by state BJP vice president Anil Madhav Dave a few months ago, and walked out of the meeting.

Although two other senior ministers, Jayant Malaiya and Babulal Gaur, also opposed the move, the CM said the trust was doing good work for Narmada river conservation and, therefore, deserves government support.

However, on Friday, Dave withdrew his application for the allotment in the wake of the protests staged in Wednesday's cabinet meeting. He wrote to the CM, asking him not to consider his application, saying, “We have been working for Narmada conservation and would continue to do so, rising over politics.”

Earlier, a revenue department report prepared for the cabinet raised 11 points, opposing the allotment. But the cabinet had chosen to ignore the report. Akahnd Pratap Singh said he would not tolerate allotting poor villagers' lands to a BJP leader. He said he would inform senior leaders L.K. Advani and Rajnath Singh about the land deals.

State Congress chief Suresh Pachauri said this was one more glaring example of how the BJP government was enriching RSS outfits. He has demanded a Lokayukta inquiry in all such land allotments.

The BJP leaders, however, do not deny that the Shivraj Singh government has been too generous to the Parivar. But they see nothing wrong in such deals. state BJP president Narendra Singh Tomar said, “They are doing a great job for society and the nation.”