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Posts Tagged ‘Ajay Singh

During his first term as Leader of Opposition in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly (2010-2013), Ajay Singh (Rahul Bhaiya) had made a name for himself for his aggressive stance against the wrong-doings of the BJP government of Shivraj Singh Chouhan. But in his second tenure, which began in February this year, not only his performance has been lack-lustre but this month he did something which will haunt his political career for the rest of his life. He collaborated in Chouhan’s clandestine move to get his own man appointed as Lokayukta of the State.

It was kept a closely guarded secret, known only to Chouhan, a few others involved, and Ajay Singh till an official announcement was made late in the night that former MP High Court judge Naresh Kumar Gupta had been appointed as the Lokayukta. Gujarat Governor O P Kohli, who has been holding additional charge of Madhya Pradesh for over a year, was flown in from Gandhinagar next day (October 18). He administered oath of office and secrecy to the new Lokayukta and flew back to Gandhinagar, barely spending a couple of hours in the Madhya Pradesh capital.

The law, rules and procedures were breached in appointment of Justice (Retd) Gupta as the Lokayukta. No panel of names was prepared and no meeting of selectors was held. Chouhan got a single name approved by the High Court Chief Justice and sent an officer to Ajay Singh to get his signature which the 62-year-old Congress leader obliged — all in secrecy. Appointment of Gupta as Lokayukta created another anomaly. Deputy Lokayukta Justice (Retd) U C Maheshwari had been acting as Lokayukta for over a year. Maheshwari was senior to Gupta by six years in the High Court and now Gupta has come to boss over him. A sullen Maheshwari did not attend Gupta’s swearing-in. A day before, he pushed off to Mhow to celebrate Diwali with his family.

Justice (Retd) Gupta was legal advisor to the Chouhan government before he was appointed a High Court judge in 2010. During that period he was said to have helped Chouhan manage some serious scams and had won the trust of Chouhan. According to PCC spokesman K K Mishra, Deputy Lokayukta Maheshwari was probing corruption charges against an influential IAS officer and now the investigation would naturally be taken over by Gupta as Maheshwari’s boss.

Ajay Singh has been receiving a lot of criticism, mainly from his own party men, for his complicity in Chouhan’s nefarious game. Congress Rajya Sabha member and senior lawyer Vivek Tankha wondered how the Chief Justice of the High Court and Leader of Opposition could become party to serious transgression of judicial procedures. Former Speaker of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly Srinivas Tiwari and several other party leaders felt that Ajay Singh had forfeited the right to lead the Congress party in the Assembly. There are reports that a large number of missives have been sent to the party high command in Delhi about the unseemly conduct of Ajay Singh.

In a facile statement, Ajay Singh said that he did not know anything about gradation of High Court judges; the Chief Justice suggested the name, the Chief Minister sent it to him and he signed. How innocent! Even ninnies would not take his defence seriously.

Deputy Leader of Opposition Bala Bachan, who was acting Leader of Opposition before Ajay Singh was nominated to the post, came out with an observation that Chouhan had been trying to get Justice (Retd) Gupta appointed as Lokayukta for nearly a year; he had sent the officers from the CMO with Gupta’s name to Bala Bachan as many as six times and every time Bala Bachan returned them saying that he would not sign for a single name. Bachan had always insisted on a panel of three names to select from, as per the rules. When Bachan asked for the file so that he could note down his objections, the officers refused to give him the file, Bachan added. 

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Though there is no word from the Congress High Command as yet, the buzz in Madhya Pradesh is that Jyotiraditya Scindia will be the party’s face in next year’s Assembly elections. Member of Lok Sabha from Guna constituency, Scindia has increased his visits to the State. In the aftermath of the police firing on farmers in Mandsaur district in early June, Scindia held a three-day Satyagraha in Bhopal. Most of the State party leaders, including AICC General Secretary and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh, attended it. Later Scindia held a one-day demonstration at Khalghat in Khargone district on the farmers’ issue. Veteran Congress leader Kamal Nath, who did not come to Bhopal, attended it there. Scindia has since held several programmes in the State to highlight the travails of the people in the BJP government of Shivraj Singh Chouhan, with main emphasis on the plight of the farmers in the State.

Appearances apart, the disquiet among Congress chieftains of the State at the emergence of Scindia as the possible chief ministerial candidate is much too palpable. Some time back, Kamal Nath had started attacking the Chouhan government with unusual regularity following media reports that he was soon going to be named as the PCC chief in place of Arun Yadav and was going to be the chief ministerial candidate. After Scindia’s name started doing the rounds, Kamal Nath’s belligerency has waned. Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ajay Singh is not seen in the current (monsoon) session of the Assembly in the same ebullient form which he displayed the last time as the Leader of Opposition. He was himself aspiring to lead the party in the elections.

Digvijaya Singh is a case apart. Once he had seen in Ajay Singh the next Chief Minister. At another time at a party function at Chhindwara, he had favoured Kamal Nath. Chhindwara is Kamal Nath’s Lok Sabha constituency. The only thing that can be said with certainty is that he does not like Scindia, nor, for that matter, did he like Scindia’s father, late Madhavrao Scindia. In fact, the only Scindia he liked was Madhavrao’s late mother Vijayaraje Scindia. Vijayaraje, one of the seniormost BJP leaders, fully reciprocated Digvijaya Singh’s sentiments and often praised the Congress leader publicly, to utter chagrin of the late BJP leader Sunderlal Patwa.

At the farmers’ rally organised by Jyotiraditya in Lahar in Bhind district early this month, Digvijaya Singh left the party workers aghast when towards the close of his speech, he looked at Scindia and said: ‘go and fight BJP and Shivraj Singh Chouhan, NOT ME.’

Digvijaya Singh has reiterated that he is not interested in Madhya Pradesh politics. He will now undertake spiritual parikrama of river Narmada from October 1. It may take several months to go round the river on foot.

Interestingly, Rubina Sharma Singh, wife of Digvijaya Singh’s younger brother Lakshman Singh, has pleaded for Scindia. In a Facebook post she says: ‘Jyotiraditya Scindia is making a great effort to resurrect the Congress Party here in Madhya Pradesh. Now, the rest of the Party leaders need to genuinely support him and stop this ego tussle they have with him.’ A similar appeal was made by Digvijaya Singh’s son Jaivardhan Singh (who is Congress MLA) at Scindia’s Bhopal Satyagraha in early June.

The BJP leaders, too, have concentrated their attacks on Scindia. To which level they can go to malign Scindia is shown by an incident. A trauma centre was to be inaugurated by Scindia in Ashoknagar in his Lok Sabha constituency where local BJP MLA Gopinath Jatav, a Dalit, was also invited. Jatav, however, pre-empted it and inaugurated it a day earlier. Congress leader and Scindia’s representative Amit Tavre promptly issued a statement that the trauma centre had been contaminated by the touch of a Dalit and would be washed with gangajal. The Congress leaders were stunned by this unauthorised statement. District Congress Committee president Gajram Singh Yadav promptly expelled Tavre from the party for six years. Scindia removed him from the responsibilities of his representative.

BJP leaders denounced Scindia’s feudal attitude and his prejudice against Dalits. On a directive from State BJP president Nand Kumar Singh Chauhan, the BJP workers burnt effigies of Scindia at district headquarters all over the State on July 24.  


November 2017
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“Behind every great fortune there is a crime”, originally attributed to 19th-century French writer Honoré de Balzac.

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