Days after grievances of two ministers of Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in Madhya Pradesh against bureaucracy went public, the ruling BJP has instructed its workers and leaders afresh to exercise restraint in speaking and make their points on the party forum.
The actions of the ministers, Mahendra Singh Sisodia and Brajendra Singh Yadav, was given political colour by the opposition Congress which said it indicated the “growing factionalism and power tussle” in the ruling party. Both the ministers are supporters of Union minister Jyotiradiya Scindia and had joined the BJP with him in March 2020.
The instruction for exercising restraint came during a special meeting of the senior leaders of the party with district presidents and other state-level office bearers on Sunday night. Sources said that during the meeting, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and national joint general secretary (organization) Shivprakash cautioned leaders and workers against making public statements on their grievances.
On Monday, in response to queries of media, the state BJP president Vishnu Dutt Sharma confirmed that such instructions were issued afresh but added that the party constantly trains its workers and issues guidelines in this respect.
“An instruction to speak with restraint means that BJP is a disciplined political party and we have our own organization and system in place. If we want to say something, we can say it on the party forum as part of internal democracy. Though BJP is a cadre based party, it works on this system. As regards any kind of statement in public, the party constantly trains its workers and issues guidelines to them. It is a normal process. This is the standing message from the leadership and is part of our functioning, so this message was again shared (during the Sunday meeting),” Sharma said.
The fresh instruction assumes importance as it came soon after the outburst of state panchayat and rural development minister Mahendra Sisodia against bureaucracy, especially against the chief secretary. Sisodia called the bureaucratic system under the chief secretary as ‘nirankush’ (unbridled).
The minister’s outburst had come in context of some transfers of police officials in Shivpuri district, of which he is the guardian minister, without taking him into confidence. Sisodia had written a letter to Shivpuri collector for action against the superintendent of police in this regard and this letter went public.
Later, after a meeting with the chief minister, Sisodia had said that he had no further complaints and there was nothing to talk about it any more.
Meanwhile, another letter by minister of state for public health engineering (PHE) Brajendra Singh Yadav to the state commissioner for co-operative societies, in which he sought action against a deputy audit officer for alleged irregularities in appointments in Ashok Nagar district, went public. Yadav also reportedly expressed anger at the fact that his letter to Ashok Nagar collector seeking probe against the audit officer by the deputy collector had gone unheeded.
Yadav did not make any public statement on the issue, but these two incidents gave the opposition Congress fodder to target the ruling party as both ministers are supporters of Scindia. Especially in context of Sisodia’s outburst, Congress spokesman Narendra Saluja said that it indicated growing factionalism in the party and a tussle for power. He said that Scindia was using his supporting ministers to maintain domination especially in the Gwalior-Chambal region and all this indicated a big upheaval brewing in the BJP.
The Congress also took jibe at the growing bonhomie between Scindia and BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, a powerful leader of the state considered to be from the opposite camp of CM Chouhan.
Scindia, once a bitter rival of Vijayvargiya especially in the matter of cricket administration, had come down from the dais during a recent award function organised by the MP Cricket Association to take Vijayvargiya, sitting in first row in audience, to the dais with him.
The Union minister had also paid a surprise visit to Vijayvargiya’s residence in Indore along with his son Mahaaryaman a fortnight ago. Scindia was heard asking his son to seek blessings from Vijayvargiya and the closeness was apparent at family level between the two leaders.
Saluja tweeted video of the MPCA function saying that something was behind the closeness (of Scindia and Vijayvargiya) as both were averse to seeing each other once. The Congress spokesman said that either Scindia wanted a post for his son in MPCA or the closeness was a message of future political scenario in the state.