Ajit Pawar has given Praful Patel, one-time trusted lieutenant of Sharad Pawar, the charge of all 36 districts of Maharashtra to create a strong party network.
An alert BJP leadership in Madhya Pradesh seems to have blunted, for now, an attempt by the Opposition Congress to paint Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s team as a corrupt dispensation by accusing it of being a “50% commission government”, but the episode has reminded state as well as Central BJP leadership the need to keep ready a strategy to counter similar desperate attempts by rivals to influence voters. Sources said the corruption allegation matter also found mention at the meeting of BJP’s 15-member central election committee held in New Delhi, a day before the announcement of 39-member first list of candidates, mostly for the reserved seats in MP, on Thursday.
Apart from exposing a contractor’s letter—that alleged prevalence of bribes in the government—as fake, the state government and the BJP unit also hastened the registration of police complaints against social media handlers of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Congress PCC chief Kamal Nath and others. Gyanendra Awasthi, a contractor who allegedly wrote the letter to the Chief Justice of High Court alleging corruption in the government, has remained untraceable.
The BJP’s strong rebuttal of allegations against the state government is in contrast to the subdued counterattack when similar allegations were made against the party’s chief minister in Karnataka in the run-up to Assembly polls there. “Our party has emerged wiser from the Karnataka loss,” said a central BJP leader.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Chouhan said the letter alleging corruption has been proven fake as the person who wrote the letter does not exist and the address of the contractors’ association, on whose behalf the alleged letter was written, is also non-existent.
Union minister Narandra Singh Tomar, an MP from Morena, said the Congress is seeing its defeat in Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls and, therefore, resorting to “dirty politics”.
Dismissing corruption allegations made by the Congress, MP minister Vishwas Sarang said he also has a long list of corruption charges against Nath. “Voters will not allow themselves to be misled by fake information being circulated by Congress sympathisers,” he said.
BJP sources said the dirty tricks department of Congress may have caused damage to the party in Karnataka, but this would not be allowed to be repeated in Madhya Pradesh. MP BJP chief V.D. Sharma said the Congress is devoid of an agenda, so it is trying to manufacture a corruption issue. “But by circulating a fake letter, the Congress has disrespected the 8.5 crore voters of the state,” he said.
Meanwhile, the BJP CEC, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, held two discussion sessions to review the challenges before the party and discuss probable candidates for Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. A possible central theme for the BJP campaign in both states was also taken up for discussion. Voters in five states, including Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram, will elect new legislative Assemblies later this year.