Bhopal: The ruling Congress party in Madhya Pradesh and Chief Minister Kamal Nath owe an explanation to the people after State Forest Minister Umang Singhar has openly said that former Chief Minister Digvijay Singh is running the State Government from “behind the curtain”.
What the Forest Minister has stated amounts to raising the issue of constitutional propriety. Singhar has publicly said that “everyone in Madhya Pradesh and the Congress workers know that Digvijay Singh is running the government from behind the curtain”.
Digvijay Singh had recently written to all State ministers asking them to give an action taken report on his letters relating to transfers and other works.
Singh wrote to the Ministers: “I have forwarded applications on different matters, including transfers, between the period – January and August 15, 2019. I had sought in writing the information about follow up action taken on my letters and whether or not action was possible. I want to meet you before August 31, 2019 in order to know about the action taken on the above letters sent by me.”
On Digvijay Singh’s letter, Singhar has said when Singh is running the government, there is no need for him to write letters to ministers for getting the works done.
It is learnt that the State Forest Minister has sent a letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi to keep her posted about the situation in Madhya Pradesh. He has also accused Digvijay Singh of destabilising the State Government.
The Forest Minister’s stand exposes the inner-party strife over the issue of the next Madhya Pradesh Congress unit President. At present, there is a no-holds-barred situation with Congress workers’ loyalties divided like never before between factions led by senior party leaders – Digvijay Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Singhar’s stand is also significant as it comes close on the heels of a major controversy that has got generated over the reconstitution of the State Wildlife Board in gross disregard and violation of Section 6 (1) (e) of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 which gives the State Government powers to nominate 10 non-official members from among eminent conservationists, environmentalists and ecologists. After the State Forest Department had completed the process of shortlisting 9 persons for induction as members of the Wildlife Board in the non-official category and all of them had been informed by the Government regarding their nomination, a few of them were dropped at the last moment and in their place some other persons were brought in as members merely because of their “special interest in wildlife”. In the absence of any “speaking order” from the Government in this regard, those in knowledgeable circles are asking who had played a role in dropping eminent conservationists to make room for others known for their close association with some Congress leaders. A number of Indian Forest Service Officers, including retired officers, who have headed the State Forest department, are unanimous in criticising the manner in which the State Wildlife Board has been reconstituted. The Government is facing the charge that the process of nominating members to the State Wildlife Board smacks of nepotism and favouritism. The Madhya Pradesh High Court is seized of the matter and has sent notices to the concerned State Authorities in response to a PIL.