Madhya Pradesh: Cong seeks to counter Sanatan controversy by alleging corruption

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The Opposition Congress has released video clips on social media blaming corruption for the collapse of idols at the Mahakal Lok corridor in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain as part of its attempts to counter the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) attempt to capitalise on Tamil Nadu minister Udhyanidhi Stalin’s controversial call for eradicating Sanatan Dharma.

Congress is hoping to return to power in Madhya Pradesh. (HT PHOTO)

The BJP in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh has continued attacking Congress for allegedly working against Sanatan Dharma since Stalin, whose Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam is a key constituent of the Opposition Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), made the comment.

Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday questioned his predecessor Kamal Nath’s silence over the insult to Sanatan Dharma and said the INDIA bloc is full of people insulting it. “When Sanatan Dharma is insulted you [Nath] keep quiet but when it comes to seeking votes, you become hypocritical…Why did not you utter even a word over the insult to Sanatan? Your alliance partners are abusing Sanatan… People of Madhya Pradesh will not tolerate this and give a befitting reply to your party.”

Congress media in-charge KK Mishra hit back citing damage to the statues in Ujjain. “They did not spare even God. Crores of rupees were spent on the construction of Mahakal Lok in the holy city Ujjain but in just one storm, the idols were damaged as the government indulged in corruption.”

The Madhya Pradesh Lokayukta this summer took cognisance of its own in the matter and ordered an inquiry into a Gujarat-based company’s alleged use of substandard material for the installation of the idols amid Congress’s allegations of corruption in the project. Six out of the seven idols of seven sages installed at the corridor collapsed due to gusty winds in May.

Congress’s Madhya Pradesh in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala last week also accused the BJP government of letting water accumulate in the Omkareshwar Dam to enable Chouhan’s smooth visit before releasing it at night and flooding the town.

Chouhan unveiled at Omkareshwara a 108-feet-high statue of Adi Shankaracharya, who is credited with restoring Sanatan Dharma’s glory in the eighth century.

State Congress spokesman Santosh Gautam said they were committed to highlighting the corruption of the BJP government in Ujjain, its ruining of the environment at Omkareshwar, and stalling Ram Van Gaman Path work at Chitrakoot which was started when Nath was the chief minister. He said the Congress leaders were highlighting these issues to expose the BJP’s real face.

State BJP spokesman Hitesh Bajpai said that people know who champions Sanatan Dharma and those who are against it. “The problem with Congress leaders is they see corruption even in development…Congress leaders amassed wealth in the name of development. …people will reject the party [Congress].”

The BJP, which has since 2003 been in power in the state barring 18 months between 2018 and 2020, faces anti-incumbency and infighting in Madhya Pradesh, where polls are due this year along with four other states. The five states account for roughly 15% of India’s population. The five assembly elections are expected to set the tone for the 2024 national elections.

The Congress hopes to form the next government in Madhya Pradesh three years after it lost power there in March 2020 when 22 legislators resigned.

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