THE ELECTED representatives of ruling Congress in Bhopal Municipal Corporation, red in the face over ignoring national leaders including the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in the publicity material of the ambitious Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), are now more or less disowning the faux pas.
Not only this, the publicity posters that have landed them in a soup are being removed from the important city points. Jawaharlal Nehru could not get place on the banners put up on the stage prepared for the inauguration of JNNURM schemes in Bhopal in the hands of Congress president Sonia Gandhi in July this year.
Instead, present leaders of the State - Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Urban Administration and Development Minister Jayant Malaiya - and even of the BMC Mayor Sunil Sood and the BMC chairman Ramdayal Prajapati got the space on the publicity material spread across the City.
It is learnt that more than Rs 1 lakh were spent on the publicity. Not only for the JNNURM, the pictures of State and local leaders were also used for the publicity of ADB schemes, which are yet to be approved.
The Union Government has been providing 50 per cent of the total cost of plans under JNNURM while the State Government and BMC would respectively provide 20 and 30 per cent.
When asked, Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman P C Sharma however said that he was informed that the posters and banners were installed by the Urban Administration Department of the State Government. Sharma said that in case the BMC had installed these banners, then the Mayor is also responsible. The Congress workers led by Sharma had staged a demonstration a couple of days back demanding that pictures of Nehru, Sonia and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should have been displayed on the JNNURM publicity material.
On the other hand, Mayor Sunil Sood told the Hindustan Times that the mayor-in-council had not given any approval to the publicity material under the JNNURM. There, he doesn’t know who actually installed these hoardings, he added.
But the BMC sources said that these posters were installed well after the approval of Mayor Sunil Sood, who has been working in odd circumstances. Though Sood was elected directly as the Mayor, the Congress is in minority in the 66-members general council of the BMC.
The BMC has paid for these posters through the JNNURM contingency funds. It is also said that the BMC officials also tried to please their political masters through such posters.
However, BJP district president Alok Sanjar alleged that the Congress leaders are trying to drag the developmental issues into the politics. Sanjar said that Madhya Pradesh Government has topped among all the states as far as JNNURM approval is concerned. Therefore, the Chief Minister should also be given credit for this scheme, he added.