Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan and his wife Sadhna Singh have served a legal notice on Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Pradesh Congress Committee president Kantilal Bhuria and the Indian National Congress for an advertisement campaign alleging corruption by Mr. Chouhan and his family.

This is the second time the Chief Minister has taken the libel route to counter the Congress’s allegations in the run-up to the Assembly elections scheduled for later this month. In July, the Chouhans filed a Rs. 1-crore suit against Leader of the Opposition Ajay Singh for his remarks targeting Ms. Singh for corruption.

The advertisement portrays silhouettes allegedly of the Chief Minister and his wife with currency notes in the background, titled Mukhiya ke muh par tala, lalchi parivar ne Madhya Pradesh loot dala (The leader’s mouth is locked, greedy family has looted Madhya Pradesh). It levels charges of corruption against Ms. Sadhna Singh and relatives of her and her husband.

The Congress has been given 15 days to reply to the notice or face a defamation suit of at least Rs. 12 crore for mental agony.

The advertisement was seen to be in response to one the BJP put out last month, with a silhouette resembling Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, questioning his nationality and educational qualifications. The party also used an image of the coffins of Indian troops draped in the tricolour in one of its ads. The Congress has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission, which according to sources, has sought the views of the Defence Ministry.