The BJP government in Madhya Pradesh has sparked off a confrontation with central ministers by issuing a circular making it mandatory for them to seek its permission before holding any development-related function in the state.
Union ministers from the state have called it ridiculous.
The state issued the circular on April 24. General administration Minister Kanhaiyalal Agarwal told HT: “Union ministers have performed bhoomi poojan or laid foundation stones for projects that have not received clearances. This had put the state government in an awkward situation.”
Responded minister of state for commerce and industry, Jyotiraditya Scindia: “In my role as a member of Parliament, I have a duty to monitor the implementation of government programmes in my constituency. In my role as a central minister, I am empowered to inspect the implementation of programmes that come under my jurisdiction.”
“I don’t recall the exact contents of the MP government circular, but any attempt to restrict the discharge of my
responsibilities both as an MP and a minister is undemocratic,” he added.
Former Congress CM from Madhya Pradesh Digvijaya Singh said Union ministers do, and should, inform state governments about their plans for protocol reasons. “But they should also have the authority to inspect a place incognito to detect malpractices,” he said.
The circular was issued following Minister of State for Rural Development Pradeep Jain’s tour last month during which he had alleged that massive corruption was subverting the UPA’s flagship National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in several districts.