Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh Government’s decision to constitute a committee under the name of Deendayal, to ensure public participation in monitoring development projects has triggered a political storm in the state.
In response to the government’s decision, the state Congress has accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of misusing the administrative machinery to build a network of party cadres across the state in the name of Deendayal committees to win Assembly elections in 2023.
The debate began on November 13, when CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan claimed that a new structure will be created for public participation in the development and monitoring system, while releasing the Roadmap-2023 for an Atmanirbhar (self-reliant) Madhya Pradesh at Minto Hall in Bhopal.
“Deendayal committees will be constituted at village, Janpad and district levels to ensure public participation and monitoring. Transparency in development works will be increased by extensive use of modern technology in every field,” he announced during the event, as per the state government’s official communiqué.
Launching a scathing attack on on the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led government, Congress spokesperson in Madhya Pradesh, Bhupendra Gupta said that the BJP government is trying to build a network of BJP and RSS workers at the cost of public exchequer to use it in the 2023 Assembly elections.
“Commissioning Deendayal committees is just a ploy of the BJP Government. More so, it is an attempt to assuage the feelings of committed BJP workers who are disheartened after the party gave ministerial berths to 14 ex-Congress MLAs who joined the BJP in March this year and were given tickets in by-polls by dumping the committed party workers,” Gupta further alleged.
The state government is yet to spell out the details of functioning of the committees named after Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay, founder of the Jana Sangh and BJP’s ideologue.
Earlier, CM Chouhan had constituted a similar committee a month after the fall of the15-month long Congress government in April 29, 2020 amid the pandemic-induced lockdown to ensure smooth delivery of welfare schemes to the needy during the pandemic. He had also informed the party leaders, MLAs and MPs to constitute Deendayal committees soon at the panchayat level in rural areas and at ward level in urban areas. But, nothing much had happened.
Coming down heavily on the BJP’s latest announcement, former Congress media incharge and spokesperson, KK Mishra said, “BJP is trying to accommodate the unhappy BJP workers in the name of Deendayal committee. And those committee members will be paid from the Government's exchequer.”
Questioning the requirement for another burden on the state exchequer, he said, “What is the need of these committees when the state government already has plenty of institutions which can monitor the development projects and keep an eye on the officials' concern,” adding, “instead of reviving and supporting those watchdog institutions, CM is trying to accommodate its party cadres.”
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However, BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal defended CM’s announcement and insisted that the decision will ensure quality of the development work carried out at the grassroots level.
Interestingly, this is not the first committee under the name of ideologue of the saffron party. In 2017, the BJP Government had formed similar committees called ‘Deendayal Antyoday samiti’ named after the antyodaya (welfare of underprivileged people) ideology of Deendayal Upadhyay, which accomodated more than 1.25 lakh BJP workers.
The state government had issued instructions to all the collectors and commissioners of municipal bodies regarding formation of the committees at village, block, district, nagar nigam, nagar palika, nagar panchayat and state level.
These committees were supposed to give feedback to the government on the status of implementation of development projects and quality of the work. However, the saffron party leaders have alleged that as soon as Congress formed the government in December 2018, it dissolved the committees.