Cong, BJP spar over CM Chouhan's clips

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Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh Congress released audio and video clips on Wednesday, saying they contained chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s speech in which he admitted the previous state government was toppled on the instructions of the central BJP leadership.

Chouhan’s remarks cited by the Congress purportedly came while addressing an intraparty meeting with BJP workers and leaders in Indore on Sunday. In the speech, Chouhan is heard saying, “But there is a question. The central leadership had decided that this government should fall. This (government) will ruin and destroy the state.”

HT can’t vouch for the authenticity of the clips.

Chouhan is further heard saying while pointing to his ministerial colleague Tulsi Silavat, who resigned from the Congress to join the BJP, “ He (Tulsi Silavat) gave up his position of minister as he was pained (with the conduct of the Congress). People don’t give up even the post of sarpanch.”

Chouhan’s meeting with the party workers and leaders was to mobilise them ahead of bypolls to 24 assembly constituencies, 22 of which fell vacant after the then Congress MLAs, including six ministers representing these seats in the state assembly resigned from the state assembly in March and later join the BJP. Silavat, who is water resources minister in the Chouhan cabinet, is likely to contest the bypoll from Sanwer assembly seat that he held until he resigned.

The resignations of the legislators followed the resignation of senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia who joined the BJP. Their resignations culminated in the fall of the Congress government in the state.

State Congress president and former chief minister Kamal Nath said, “I have been saying from day one that BJP toppled my government which had the mandate from people, under a conspiracy while playing the game of enticement. It was because the government was waiving loans of farmers, giving employment to youth, protecting dignity of women, running a campaign against mafia and bringing investment to the state. BJP knew that with such work of the the Congress government, it would not be able to return to power for years.”

Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan could not be reached for comment.

The state BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal said, “What the chief minister said was in agreement with what he said earlier too that the government didn’t fall because of the BJP but because of inherent conflicts within the Congress. It is a fact that the government fell due to resignation of 22 Congress MLAs. The BJP did its duty later to form the government.”

The state Congress president’s media coordinator Narendra Saluja said, “In view of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s admission regarding the conspiracy against the then Congress government the party will take necessary steps after consulting legal experts.”

In the audio clip, reminding the party workers and leaders of their duties with regard to the bypolls, Chouhan is heard saying, “Election is going to take place. Tell me with honesty if Tulsi Silavat doesn’t become an MLA will I remain a chief minister? Will BJP government be saved? That’s why it’s our duty that Tulsi Silavat has to win from Sanwer and BJP has to win this seat...”

To motivate workers Chouhan is heard saying, “Tulsi Silavat is just a symbol. Barely is there an occasion when a mother asks her son to protect her honour. BJP is our mother politically and this mother is asking us to protect her honour lest it should face defeat and the lotus flower (BJP’s symbol) is let down and the PM’s decision is proved wrong.”

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