Madhya Pradesh Governor may be on way out

BJP still backing Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and others facing corruption charges.

Updated - November 17, 2021 01:54 am IST

Published - July 10, 2015 02:57 am IST

The first head in the mysterious Vyapam scam may soon roll — Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav, who was not only named in an FIR in the case (later quashed by the High Court) but also issued a notice by the Supreme Court on Thursday — after Prime Minister Narendra Modi returns from his tour of Central Asia.

The indications came after Home Minister Rajnath Singh met President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday evening, hours after the Supreme Court handed over the Vyapam case to the CBI. Even though the meeting was billed as “pre-scheduled”, it became clear that Mr. Ram Naresh Yadav’s future was discussed, but sources said a decision would have to await the return of the Prime Minister.

The Governor was appointed during UPA rule, but survived the arrival of the BJP, some say because he knew “too much” about the Vyapam scam and his departure would have made Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan more vulnerable to attacks from the Congress. Today, he is clearly expendable.

But clearly, the BJP central leadership that had closed ranks behind Mr. Chouhan and other Chief Ministers and Ministers named in a series of scams has not yet changed its mind on them.

Sign of weakness The thinking in the party appears to be that by asking any one of them to step down would not just be a sign of weakness but also amount to an admission of guilt.

In the cases of Rajasthan (where Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje is embroiled in the Lalit Modi controversy), Chhattisgarh (where Chief Minister Raman Singh has been named in the PDS scam) and Madhya Pradesh, the departure of the satraps, the party fears, could trigger off internecine war and destabilise the State governments: there is no clear line of succession in any of the three States.

Party’s volte-face The general belief, therefore, is that it is best to brazen it out — till it becomes impossible. Hence Home Minister Rajnath Singh saying just three days ago that a CBI investigation is not needed in Vyapam and the party welcoming the apex court’s decision on Thursday to hand over the case to the agency.

So as the water rises, the BJP has decided that its best case is to remind people that the Congress that is spearheading the attack against it is not in a moral position to do so.

The Congress, a senior BJP leader told The Hindu , is the “brand ambassador of corruption, commission and bad governance” and is indulging in mud-slinging without any evidence to back its charges — because it is a question of survival for them.

“The party keeps levelling charges in the hope that by consistently repeating them it can make them stick. The allegations have to be based on facts and backed by evidence. In one year, they have not been able to do that,” a party leader said.

‘Fight for survival’ The Congress, he continued, is passing through bad times and its good times are not going to come so soon: the party is competing with the Aam Aadmi Party in attacking the BJP. If it does not upstage the AAP, it will lose prime time space in the media to the latter.

“This is a fight for their existence,” he said.

That may well be true, but as the days go by, the BJP’s image in getting increasingly tarnished — and its leaders appear to have no solution in mind but to sit it out.

1The Supreme Court ordered the probe be transferred to the CBI. The SC also issued notices to the Madhya Pradhesh High Court, the Central government and M.P. Governor Ram Naresh Yadav on a plea seeking the Governor's removal from his post.
2 Police ordered a review of the suspicious death of MBBS student Namrata Damor. Her body was found near railway tracks in the Ujjain district in 2012 after her name figured in the scam. Earlier, police had registered a “murder” case in this regard and later termed the incident as an “accident” and closed the case. >Read more
3 Buckling under pressure, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan made a U-turn and decided to seek a CBI investigation into the case. >Read more
4 Supreme Court agreed to hear a petition seeking removal of Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav over his alleged involvement in the scam. >Read more
5 The Congress and Aam Aadmi Party demanded a SC-monitored probe in to the case following the spate of deaths. >Read more
6Adding to the string of deaths, the body of trainee sub-inspector Anamika Sikarwar was found in a lake adjacent to the Police Training Academy at Sagar district headquarters in Madhya Pradesh. The Chief Minister quickly denied that the incident was linked to the Vyapam probe.
7Whistleblower Ashish Chaturvedi, 26, claimed that there was a grave threat to his life and accused Mr.Chouhan of being “directly involved” in the scam, a charge rubbished by the CM.
8 It came after the unexplained death of journalist Akshay Singh who was covering the scam in Jhabua while Jabalpur Medical College Dean Arun Sharma, probing fake examinees, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a hotel at Dwarka in south-west Delhi. Police on Monday said no foul play was suspected in the death of Sharma . >Read more
9 Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the government cannot direct a High Court or Supreme Court to order a CBI probe into the scam. >Read more
10 Two senior officers of the Special Task Force (STF) investigating the MPPEB scam claimed to have received threats allegedly from some influential people involved in the racket. >Read more
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