Madhya Pradesh minister Vijay Shah,sacked this week for a series of double entendre remarks,had been getting away so far because the BJP had not wanted to antagonise the tribal votebank. He crossed the line when he aimed his latest remarks at the chief ministers wife,Sadhna Singh.
Responding to a demand for track suits for girls attending a summer camp,the five-time MLA said,Let them be given two T-shirts each but I dont not know what they wear below that is called. Then he said,Bhabhi (Sadhna Sigh) often escorts bhaiya (Shivraj Singh Chouhan), and wished she would occasionally company devar (brother-in-law) too,a reference to himself.
Until then,the last controversial remark from Shah,50,tribal development minister and Harsud legislator,had come in February when he had said protecting girl students was the primary responsibility of parents,not the government. He wanted parents to give a written undertaking that the government would not be responsible for their safety if they wanted to live in hostels. By his standards,that was an innocuous comment. Yet it embarrassed the ruling BJP because it followed the recovery of the mutilated body of an eight-year-old girl from near the home ministers bungalow.
Once,the wife of a government employee had alleged at a press conference that her husband was forcing her to start a relationship with Shah,and harassed her when she refused to do so.
Three years ago,Shah danced with a Russian dancer,who was skimpily clothed,at a function organised near a saints samadhi in Khandwa. There were several other instances of indiscretion during Shahs tenure as minister,from partying with a large group of family members and friends at Bandhavgarh tiger reserve immediately after the Delhi gangrape (a time when various celebratory functions were cancelled),to remarks he made against the Brahmin community.
Mostly,he blamed the media for distorting his comments and going after him because he was a soft target. His explanation for the remarks against Sadhna Singh was that he had spoken for nearly 45 minutes but the media highlighted only the parts that showed him in bad light. After he was sacked,he returned to Harsud on Wednesday and mimicked how the media had done a cut-and-paste job on his speech. The CD of his speech has left the party angry.
Shah has now said said his voters would give a verdict on the episode which he called a conspiracy hatched with media.