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Dissidents put Raman Singh on the back foot

By Prakash Chandra Hota in Raipur
July 30, 2007 16:10 IST
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The increasing discontent among the rank and file of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Chhattisgarh and especially cross voting against Bhairon Singh Shekhawat in the Presidential election have put Chief Minister Raman Singh on the back-foot.

The chief minister had been adviced by state as well as central leaders to change his style of functioning and to take the party workers and leaders with him. The cross voting is seen as a result of Raman Singh's not heeding the advise.

Leaders like Nanki Ram Kanwar, who was on July 2 reshuffle, dropped from the cabinet have gone ahead and demanded a probe into the cross voting.

Kanwar said that there should be a thorough probe to trace out who were behind the cross voting as the National Democratic Alliance backed candidate secured 51 votes when the state BJP has 53 MLAs.

"The central leadership should take the cross voting as an indication of things to come before a bigger explosion takes place. They should take sufficient steps to understand what was happening in the organisation and the government in Raipur," said a senior functionary of the government requesting anonymity.

"We have come to power with a slogan to fight against corruption and where is that fight? Rather every year more and more corruption cases are being exposed in the state assembly when the state is going to poll," he said.

"It is the bureaucracy who has a say on the matter of state administration and every day governance and the elected representatives have hardly any role to play even in formulating policies, pointed out an MLA of the ruling party.

"PCC President Charan Das Mahant is staying in a government accommodation, even he is not an elected representative, where as I am a former Minister and current MLA and I have been served an eviction notice to vacate my current house after I was dropped from the ministry," Renuka Singh who had briefed the central leadership, said and added that the officials were creating problems for the ruling party members.

"We have told the Central leadership several times that corruption is playing a bigger role in every day governance and the bureaucrats, who were earlier close to previous Congress government, are now running the show here in the state," said another legislator who did not wish to be identified.

"When these things were pointed out in a party meeting, Shiv Pratap Singh, a prominent tribal leader of Sarguja region, was sacked from state BJP Presidentship and a comparatively soft Vishnu Dev Sai, MP, is made the new state head", he said.

Adding to the embarrassment of the Raman Singh government former Home Minister Nand Kumar Patel said that the cross voting to UPA-Left combine presidential candidate Pratibha Patil has proved that some of the ruling party members are still in touch with them.

During the previous Congress regime not only a BJP MLA Ram Dayal Uikey vacated his Marwahi (ST) seat for the then Chief Minister Ajit Jogi to enter the state assembly, but also subsequently 12 BJP MLAs had defected to ruling Congress Party.

The chief minister himself, however, has kept mum on the issue.
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Prakash Chandra Hota in Raipur
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