Accusing former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh of trying to establish himself as a power centre in the state, Forest minister Umang Singhar has written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, alleging that the party veteran was trying to destabilise the Kamal Nath government.
The allegations by Singhar, whose aunt Jamuna Devi was deputy chief minister in Digvijaya Singh’s government, come in the wake of differences within the ruling Congress that returned to power in the state after 15 years.
“I am pained to inform you that Digvijaya Singh is trying to establish himself as a power centre by destabilising the Kamal Nath government. He is writing letters to ministers and releasing them on social media giving a handle to the Opposition to target CM Kamal Nath and his government,” Singhar wrote.
The minister was referring to Singh’s letters to all ministers seeking audience with them to know the progress of transfers and works he had recommended to them between January and August. He alleged that the senior leader was running the government by proxy and there was no need for him to write such letters when he could easily get in touch with the ministers.
Lok Sabha defeat hasn’t changed equations
In its ninth month, the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh has found itself plagued by factionalism, which has always been the weakness of the Congress organisation in the state. Ministers are divided into different camps and occasionally take on each other in Cabinet meetings, and snipe at each other outside. A crushing defeat in the general elections hasn’t changed the equations. This comes at a time when the government enjoys a wafer-thin majority and depends on allies who often try to demand their pound of flesh.
“Ministers are accountable to the chief minister. Singh is a member of the Rajya Sabha. His writing letters to ministers and seeking account of transfers and posting is improper. This could prompt other Members of Parliament and leaders to write similar letters and seek account. If such a tradition is established, how will ministers do their official work and implement welfare schemes?’’ Singhar wrote.
The minister also accused Singh of being partial to his son Jaivardhan Singh, who holds the urban development portfolio. He said Jaivardhan, in a written reply in Assembly, had said that there was no scam in the Simhastha Kumbh while the Congress had made the alleged scam a major poll issue while in Opposition.
In February, Singh had questioned the clean chit given to the previous BJP government in the Mandsaur firing case and tree plantation scam — the latter involved a reply given by Singhar in the Assembly. Singh, however, had kept quiet on the clean chit given by his son in the alleged Simhastha Kumbh scam.
Singh did not respond to Singhar’s charge.
Jaivardhan Singh told The Indian Express that he wrote a note to the CM in July requesting a probe by the Economic Offences Wing into the Simhastha Kumbh scam.
Nath did not react to Singhar’s comments but said that everyone knows he is running the government.
The Opposition BJP said Singhar’s comments proved what the BJP had been saying all along. Former minister Vishwas Sarang said it is not uncommon for Congress governments to be run by proxy, alleging that Manmohan Singh’s tenure was an example.
State BJP chief Rakesh Singh said that Singhar’s charge points to a constitutional crisis in the state. The BJP leader said the Congress government would fall under the weight of its own contradictions.