BJS leader takes Chouhan’s offer of debate on dumper issue


Bhopal : Responding to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s offer for an open debate on the dumper purchase issue, Bharatiya Janshakti (BJS) party general secretary and former union minister Prahlad Patel has declared he and his party will ‘accept the challenge’.

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The State Lokayukt (anti-corruption cell) had registered a first information report (FIR) against Chouhan, his wife Sadhana Singh and others for alleged corruption in purchase of four dumpers that were later hired out to the Rewa-based J P Cement company. The FIR was registered following the directive of a special court of inquiry.

Ever since the FIR, on a complaint of Itarsi resident and Congress leader Ramesh K Sahu, the opposition has been insisting on the chief minister’s resignation, saying, “an impartial inquiry was not possible as long as Chouhan remained at the helm of affairs in the state”.

The opposition members did not even allowed the state assembly to run during the winter session which had to be curtailed after three days of sitting, during which the house saw uproarious scenes and bedlam in the well by the entire opposition, mainly the Congress, demanding the chief minister’s resignation.

But Chouhan refused to oblige and on the completion of two years in office Thursday asked the Opposition to debate the matter on any platform they wished.

Accusing the opposition of having scant regard for democratic institutions such as the Vidhan Sabha (assembly), the Lokayukt and the court, Chouhan told the media: “I offer them to debate the matter on any platform. It was listed for discussion even in the assembly through an opposition-sponsored adjournment motion but they (opposition members) tried to wriggle out, knowing they will fail to substantiate their allegations”.

The Congress’ action, Chouhan said, pointed towards its political bankruptcy, but its anti-democratic postures will not be able thwart the winds of development now sweeping the state following various state government initiatives.

He said his government would maintain political stability and would not allow anyone to halt the process of development of the state.

The chief minister also claimed that he would emerge unscathed in the Lokayukta investigation since there was no illegality in the case and the opposition was unnecessarily trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

While the Congress has decided to take the matter to the people’s court, BJS leader Patel told IANS Friday, “I am prepared to have a discussion on the matter. Let the chief minister decide the place and venue”.

Patel told IANS that though the chief minister has not challenged him or his party for an open debate on the issue, “I am, on behalf of the people of the state, prepared to take this fight against corruption to a conclusive end”.

Patel also criticised the Congress for not being serious on the issue. “Had it been serious, it would have allowed discussion on the matter in the house.”