Storm, Commando, Duffy, Sikander, Rambo, Sultan, Romeo, Julie, Tarzan, Steffi, Sweety, Chinki Jimmy, Hina, Renu…
There’s not a dog’s chance that these names, read together or separately, will ring a bell. But they have come to mean a lot in Madhya Pradesh, where power changed hands after 15 long years in December 2018.
On Tuesday, the Congress took copies of 63 orders of transfers of handlers and their dogs to former CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s house. The party, which said these transfers took place during the BJP regime, was reacting to Chauhan’s dig a day before that the Congress government was not even sparing the dogs as it went about transferring employees and officials across the state.
Chouhan’s comment had followed state BJP chief and Jabalpur MP Rakesh Singh’s attack on the Kamal Nath government for transferring 46 dogs with their handlers, some packed off to new assignments 500 km away, in one bust.
In 2016, the BJP government had transferred 29 handlers and dogs.
Thousands of government employees, bureaucrats and police officers have been transferred in a series of reshuffles over the last seven months since Kamal Nath took the oath of office on December 17.
While the new government initially justified the shuffling as routine, occasionally arguing that transfers were needed because employees believing in a particular ideology had infiltrated all echelons of power in the state, there seemed to be no end to reshuffles, some ordered late in the night. The transfer spree saw some being shunted from one place to another in quick succession.
While taking on the government on these slew of transfers, the BJP alleged that money changed hands. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah rubbed it in while campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections.
The last time the Congress sent copies of documents to Chouhan’s house was when he questioned the Kamal Nath government’s claims on loan waiver in the thick of election fever.
With two more phases of voting still left, former union minister Suresh Pachouri and other Congress leaders had dumped loads of documents outside his home as a proof that 21 lakh farmers had benefited from the scheme before the code of conduct was put in place.