Bhopal: Often criticising Congress for its ‘dynastic politics’, BJP, the party with a difference, in Madhya Pradesh appears to be charting a similar course going by number of relatives of its leaders in recently-formed State Consumer Protection Forum of food and civil Supplies department.
The forum, constituted on June 15, has sons and relatives of Union, state ministers, influential party office-bearers and senior politicians of the party. In 45-member committee, there are some who are not known to BJP leaders, party workers are now alleging nepotism.
The forum headed by state food and civil supplies minister Vijay Shah has Siddharth Malaiya, son of finance minister Jayant Malaiya, Devendra Pratap Singh Tomar, the son of Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Abhishek Bhargava, the son of state panchayat minister Gopal Bhargava, Akash Vijayavargiya, the son of BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayavargiya, Rajendra Rathore, the son of former MLA of Khargone Raisingh Rathore, Jayant Singh, the son of former BJP MLA from Gudh, Nagendra Singh and former mayor of Jabalpur Susheela Singh, wife of former advocate general Ravinandan Singh.
The minister obliged his confidant and followers irrespective of their qualification and work in the field of consumer protection. Rakesh Soni, Kaushal Mehra and Santosh Sitoke of Khandwa, said to be close to Shah, were also appointed as members of the forum. The tenure of the forum is three years or till further orders.
A large number of members do not belong to any consumer right committee or non-government organisations (NGOs) working in interest of consumers were also appointed to the committee arbitrarily by the minister.
“This is shocking. The minister has appointed members, who are not even active BJP workers or activists working for consumer rights. They are either relatives of influential party leaders or followers of Shah,” reacted a senior BJP leader.
During Lok Sabha and state assembly elections, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had often derided Congress as a feudal party, promoting the ‘prince’ to run the ‘kingdom’. But when it comes to promoting blood relations of ministers and influential politicians, the saffron party behaved no differently.
This is not the first time when Shah made such decisions. Earlier too, in district committees of Khandwa and Harda, he favoured workers close to him. When contacted, the minister avoided taking calls.
During previous assembly elections there was a debate within the party to choose candidates on the basis of their eligibility and contribution to the party and not blood relations. Still some ministers wanted to pass on the reigns of power in their area to their sons. In Sagar, state cooperatives minister Gopal Bhargav wanted his son Abhishek to get party ticket for assembly elections from his district whereas, party leader Kailash Vijayavargiya wanted his son to lead his constituency Mhow as a party candidate in the coming assembly poll.
On the charges of nepotism, sources in RSS said, “BJP is raising slogan of ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’ but the children of leaders getting favours indicated Congressisation of the party. They should also be aware that Sangh Parivaar is supposed to be ideological parivar (family), not based on kinship”.