Congress on Thursday stepped up its demand for resignation of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, as the day-long statewide bandh called by the opposition party over the Vyapam scam evoked a mixed response. Congress claimed that the bandh, which passed off peacefully, was “successful” while the ruling BJP termed it as “totally flop” even as a section of the minority community openly opposed it.
Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh and state unit President Arun Yadav reiterated the party’s demand that Chouhan must resign to facilitate a fair probe into the scam that relates to alleged rigging of examinations for recruitment in Government jobs and admissions in professional colleges in MP.
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“The day-long bandh on the issue of Vyapam scam and to demand resignation of Chouhan was successful. We thank the people of Madhya Pradesh for their overwhelming support,” Yadav told reporters. However, State BJP President Nandkumar Singh Chouhan termed the bandh as “totally flop” and said since the Supreme Court has already ordered a CBI probe, there was no need to call for such a protest.
“When the Supreme Court has ordered a CBI probe into the scam, which was their (Congress) main demand, there was no point in organising the bandh,” he said. Meanwhile, reports received from various districts, including Indore, Gwalior and Jabalpur suggest that the bandh evoked a mixed response.
According to reports, at several places shopkeepers downed their shutters when Congress workers arrived to enforce bandh. However, once they left the shopkeepers resumed their business activities. The bandh was not supported by a section of Muslim community as it was called on the eve of Eid festival (falling over weekend). “Congress should have organised the bandh after Eid. At this time we make purchases for Eid celebration,” a senior journalist from the minority community said.
Muslim traders here openly opposed the shutdown. They put up posters in Muslim-dominated areas that read – “Bandh nahi karenge hum vyapar, Eid Milan ka hai tyohar” (we won’t stop trading as Eid festival is just round the corner). Some businessmen put up posters against the bandh in the busy Chowk Bazaar, while advertisements appeared in local newspapers against the call.
Tight security arrangements were made in all major cities to prevent any untoward incident, a senior police official said, adding the bandh was peaceful. CBI has registered five FIRs in connection with the scandal and also launched a probe into the “mysterious” deaths of five persons associated with the scam.