A viral video clip has left the Congress-led Madhya Pradesh government red-faced. In this video, Dewas Municipal Corporation Commissioner Sanjana Jain could be seen touching the feet of state Public Works Department and Environment Minister Sajjan Singh Verma as he visited a gurdwara in Dewas on the occasion of Gurupurab. Sharing the clip, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state Vice-President Vijesh Lunawat tweeted: “This is the new Madhya Pradesh. Bureaucracy at the feet of the minister.” This is not the first time an MP bureaucrat has been caught in a storm. In 2018, then Mandla collector Sufiya Faruqi had carried the charan paduka (footwear) of saint Adi Shankaracharya as part of the Shankaracharya Ekatma Yatra. The BJP, then in power in the state, had tweeted her photos and the opposition Congress had said she was being used as a “tool” in a “political event”.
Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, once considered a frontrunner to become chief minister in 2017, has written to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, alleging large-scale irregularities in the Lucknow Development Authority (LDA). As UP housing and urban planning minister, Adityanath is the head of the development authorities, including the LDA. In his letter, Maurya has alleged a nexus between the LDA and private builders and contractors pertaining to key housing and infrastructure projects in the city. Adityanath has spoken about weeding out corruption from the bureaucracy.
On a sticky wicket
Even after sealing seat distribution with its alliance partners for the upcoming Assembly elections in Jharkhand with relative ease, the state unit of the Congress is struggling to get its act together. Allegations of factionalism aren’t letting state unit president Rameshwar Oraon breathe easy. On Thursday, former state unit president Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu joined the All Jharkhand Students Union and has been assured of a ticket. That makes Balmuchu the third of Oraon’s predecessors to contest from rival parties. Ajoy Kumar will be an Aam Aadmi Party candidate and Sukdeo Bhagat has been given the Bharatiya Janata Party ticket. Earlier on Wednesday, some party workers protested the selection of candidates for two of the three urban seats in Ranchi, accusing the leadership of favouring outsiders. If the party was hoping that Oraon’s appointment was going to help arrest factionalism, ears close to the ground say it has only intensified the problem.