Madhya Pradesh Forest Minister Umang Singhar has attacked senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, calling him a "blackmailer" who is involved in illegal mining and liquor trade rackets in the state. "His role will be exposed if the CBI launches an investigation," he claimed.
Madhya Pradesh had become a dry state under former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who ordered the closure of all liquor shops across the state in a phased manner from April 2017.
In a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Mr Singhar accused Digvijaya Singh of trying to destabilise the state government while establishing himself as a parallel power centre. He also announced plans to personally meet Mrs Gandhi and Chief Minister Kamal Nath in his campaign to "expose" the veteran politician.
The cabinet minister was unrelenting in his attack on the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister. "Why is he writing letters to the Chief Minister and other state cabinet members when his recommendations for transfers and postings made over the phone are already being fulfilled? By sharing his letters on social media, he is not only helping the opposition BJP target the Kamal Nath government but also portraying himself as a shadow chief minister," he said, adding that Digvijaya Singh should not consider himself the exclusive reason for the Congress' return to power in the state.
Digvijaya Singh had written letters to individual state ministers over transfers and postings in their respective departments a few weeks ago. The former Chief Minister had later followed up his demand with another set of letters to the ministers, asking them to meet him before August 31 so that the action taken on his recommendations can be reviewed.
However, not everybody was supportive of Mr Singhar's attack on Digvijaya Singh. "Singhar has fallen behind in the race for the Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee chief's post. By issuing such statements, he is trying to claw his way back to recognition," said state Law and Public Relations Minister PC Sharma, who is believed to be a loyalist of the former Chief Minister.
Former Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Arun Yadav expressed concern over recent developments in the party. "If I had realised that our 15-year-long struggle against the previous BJP government would lead to such a situation in just eight months, I would never have put my life in danger by taking to the streets in protest," he tweeted, sharing photographs of his pre-election agitation on social media.
State opposition leader Gopal Bhargava told NDTV that the Chief Minister needs to come clean on certain leadership issues. "The Chief Minister and his party should tell the people of the state who's the real Chief Minister or how many Chief Ministers are governing the state," the BJP leader said.
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