By L.S. Herdenia
BHOPAL: Perhaps to take advantage of the division in the ruling Congress in Madhya Pradesh, the main opposition BJP has taken to the path of confrontation. As a part of this strategy, the BJP launched a campaign called ‘Ghantanaad’ (ringing of bells to wake up the government). The BJP workers all over the state tried to draw the people’s attention to the failures of the Kamal Nath government by ringing bells. Police resorted to use of force to disperse agitating BJP government and arrested them.
In Bhopal, state BJP president Rakesh Singh led the campaign, blowing bugles and clanging cymbals. Singh courted arrest for violation of prohibitory orders under section 144 and was sent to the Central Jail by the police, along with BJP workers. They all were released a little later.
The BJP said that the agitation was launched in all the districts to “make people aware of the failure of Congress government”. Former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan participated in the protest in Vidisha and Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava joined party workers in Jabalpur. “The Congress government is involved in transfers and postings to mint money. They are involved in illegal sand mining and their feud is out in the open. The BJP will expose the failures of the Congress,” said Chouhan.
“The agitation is aimed at pulling the government out of its deep slumber as the state is suffering the consequences of a spurt in crimes, corruption and police anarchy. In the nine months of its rule, the Congress government has not fulfilled a single promise it had made to the public during the elections. The loans of farmers have not been waived, unemployment allowance remains an unfulfilled dream, crime has increased and the condition of roads is pathetic,” alleged Singh.
The BJP held protest rallies at all district headquarters. Rajya Sabha member Prabhat Kha led a protest in Sagar and former minister Bhupendra Singh did so in Gwalior. Former state chief Nandkumar Singh Chouhan took out a rally at Indore and party veteran Vikram Verma joined the agitation at Ujjain. Bhopal MP Pragya Singh Thakur did not join the protest. Rakesh Singh said that she had to appear in a court.
Over 1,000 BJP workers were held across the state. The party said the agitation was just a trailer and that it would launch much bigger protests against ‘Congress misrule’.
Claiming that the BJP agitation was a total flop, Congress spokesperson asked the BJP to ring bells to awaken the Modi government. He said that because of the faulty policies of the central government, common people were facing great problems. Prices were ruling sky high. The fact that the Union Finance Minister was forced to announce a series of steps to deal with the fledgling economy shows how bad the situation was.
Congress leaders held press conferences in all the 52 districts to give an account of the achievements of the Kamal Nath Government. In Bhopal, state Congress media department chairperson Shobha Oza said the government would soon announce “Right to Health” and “Right to drinking water” for the citizens.
“In the 15 years of BJP rule, the state was known for farmer suicides, joblessness, crimes against women and malnourished infants,” said Oza. “The former Chouhan government hosted 12 investors summits but how much investment did actually come to Madhya Pradesh?” she asked.
In contrast, the past nine months of the Congress government in the state have been dedicated to the people’s welfare, Oza said. “The state was bankrupt when CM Kamal Nath took over. But in the nine months since then, more than Rs 30,000 crores has been invested in the state. Pitahmpur has become a pharmaceutical hub. The Indore-Bhopal Expressway is becoming six-lane and this is the chief minister’s dream project. An international airport, an industrial township and a satellite town will be developed along the highway,” she added.
Congress said that more than 18 lakhs have benefitted by the Indira Kisan Jyoti Yojana of subsidised electricity. “Ninety-four companies have submitted applications to start industries in the state,” Oza said.
Taking on the BJP-led government at the Centre, Oza said, “BJP has no moral and ethical ground to level allegations against the Congress government. But we believe in democratic set-up and are, therefore, replying to their accusations. It would be good if the BJP uses the same Ghanta (bell) to awaken the Narendra Modi government. The country is getting dragged into economic emergency. The country’s reserves have been withdrawn. Bangladesh’s currency is faring better than ours,” she said.
Congress said that when 3.5 lakh people have lost their jobs in textile, auto, banking and real estate sectors, the BJP should “introspect before pointing a finger at the Kamal Nath government”. “The BJP had three OBC chief ministers but it was the Congress government that gave 27 per cent reservations to backward classes. Our government is also implementing 10 per cent reservations for the economically backward,” she said.