The Congress on Wednesday accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Madhya Pradesh of indulging in large-scale corruption in organising the state's foundation day function on November 1, and alleged that it had paid more than the sanctioned amount to playback singer Asha Bhosle and actress Hema Malini for their performances in Bhopal.
The matter was raised during Question Hour by Arif Aqueel of Congress, who alleged that Hema and Asha were paid Rs 64 lakh and Rs 16.70 lakh respectively by the culture ministry instead of the sanctioned amounts of Rs 35 lakh and Rs 12 lakh.
Aqueel questioned the authority of any minister to make payments above the sanctioned amount and also wanted to know whether Hema was invited in her capacity as a BJP leader.
Replying to the charges, Culture Minister Laxmikant Sharma said the state government has a policy of inviting artists of repute for such events. In the case of Hema Malini, a similar analogy was applied and she was not invited due to her party affiliations, he said.
On the issue of the huge sum, he said besides artists, the payments were also made for their troupe's boarding and lodging and necessary permission for that had been taken from the finance ministry.
The minister claimed that the foundation day function was widely appreciated by one and all and in the future, similar programmes will be organised in the state on such occasions.