THE ONGOING row between Zila Panchayat Chief Executive Officer Kedar Sharma and Panchayat member Pushpa Chouhan over ‘sudden inauguration’ of handicrafts fair here has snowballed into a major controversy with the issue being raised in the State Assembly on Monday.
Congress leader and Zila Panchayat member Pushpa Chouhan had cut the ribbon to inaugurate the State-level Handicrafts and Handloom Fair (organised annually at Kalidas Academy by the Ujjain Zila Panchayat) on October 31 when the invited guests - BJP State president Satyanarayan Jatia and Minister Paras Jain - did not arrive even 45 minutes after the stipulated time.
The move irked CEO Kedar Sharma and a complaint of hindering government work was filed by the Panchayat with the Madhav Nagar police under Section 353 of the IPC.
In retaliation, Pushpa also lodged a complaint at the Schedule Caste Welfare Police station charging Kedar Sharma with indecent behavior and derogatory remarks. The issue got politicised with members of the Balai Community protesting against the CEO. Going further, Pushpa also approached senior leaders of the Congress and apprised them of the matter.
Congress MLA Premchand Guddu raised a question in this connection in the State Assembly on Monday. Congress leaders have also sought an appointment with Governor Balram Jakhar requesting his intervention.
Pushpa said the people were tired of waiting for the invited guests and she had done nothing objectionable inaugurating the event. Moreover, the fair was kicked off on October 30, but the CEO, under the influence of BJP leaders, scheduled the formal inauguration for October 31. Cutting the ribbon does not amount to a criminal case, she felt.
Meanwhile, sources said lodging of case against Pushpa was done at the behest of BJP leaders. The ceremony had to be postponed for a day, as Satyanarayan Jatia was busy in by-elections on the actual starting day.
The AJK police have registered statements of five persons said to be witnesses in Pushpa’s complaint. All have endorsed her allegations. The police will now record the statement of Kedar Sharma to proceed further in the case.