The Kamal Nath government has been in power in Madhya Pradesh for barely a year now, but several reports of his cabinet members' relatives and supporters abusing government officials have already cropped up. Two such incidents occurred in Indore and Sheopur districts on Tuesday.
In the first instance, an Indore Municipal Corporation team led by Deputy Commissioner MS Chouhan was removing hoardings put up Sanyogitaganj area to mark the birthday of State Health Minister Tulsi Silawat when a group of supporters descended on them with sticks. Journalists and photographers at the spot were also assaulted.
Ironically, the hoardings were being removed in keeping with an October 31 decision taken by the Kamal Nath cabinet.
"A case has been registered against four men - Vicky Khatik, Kapil Kaushik, Chandu Silawat and Rahul Silawat - under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code as well as Section 3 of the Madhya Pradesh Sampati Virupan Nivaran Adhiniyam," said police inspector NS Raghuvanshi.
Sources said relatives of Tulsi Silawat were also part of the group. Nobody had been arrested until reports last came in.
In the second incident, a relative of State Animal Husbandry Minister Lakhan Singh Yadav allegedly threatened to thrash Vijaypur Janpad panchayat Chief Executive Officer Joshua Peter with shoes in a telephonic conversation. Sanjay Singh Yadav, who is also the All India Youth Congress secretary, was reportedly unhappy over the delay in building a check dam at Sheopur's Benipura village.
The matter did not end there. Ankit Mudgal, who is believed to be a close aide of Sanjay Singh Yadav, allegedly called Mr Peter on two occasions after that to impress upon him that the threat was no empty one.
Although the state official lodged a complaint against Sanjay Singh Yadav and Ankit Mudgal with the Sheopur police, a case is yet to be registered.
Lakhan Singh Yadav defended his nephew, instead accusing Mr Peter of "provoking" him. "My nephew Sanjay Singh Yadav is the All India Youth Congress secretary, and he never behaves in this manner. From what I figured from the audio clip of the telephonic conversation, it was the official concerned who provoked my nephew by using unsavoury language. I'm monitoring the complaint from my end," he said.
Incidentally, BJP MLA Akash Vijayvargiya had attacked an Indore Municipal Corporation official with a cricket bat while trying to prevent civic officers from evacuating a dilapidated structure in June. In that case, he was arrested in a matter of hours.