Journalist killed in Bhopal

Journalist Pawan Jain 'Vidrohi' who was returning to Bhopal from Vidhsa, after attending a religious ceremony of Jains, was shot dead. His driver was also killed in the firing.

Half-a-dozen bullets were pumped into both of them. Their car was overtaken and stopped by unidentified assailants, who came out of their car and the rain of bullets led the duo dead. Pawan Vidrohi was shot at in February also and journalists had staged a demonstration then.

He was expressing fears that he could be killed. Vidrohi had exposed the corruption in land registration that was incurring huge losses to the government. Jain was receiving death threats and had named a builder as suspect.

Pawan Jain brought out a evening newspaper Vidrohi Dhara and was a member of Working Journalist Union, apart from being a state accreditated journalist. However, he was also involved in land deals apart from being a journalist.


Akbar no longer great, Shivaji replaces him in MP texts

For students of Madhya Pradesh, Akbar will not be a great king anymore. Maratha warrior Shivaji will soon replace the Mughal Emperor.

The chapters in the text books would now show Mughal emperor in poor light due to his ancestors' foreign origin. However, the Maratha chieftain Shivaji and other 'Hindu' kings would be raised to a higher pedestal.

Also, the lessons on Hindu sages would be incorporated. And Aryabhatta would replace Galileo as the 'first person to discover that earth was round and spherical'. The 'fact' that Kanad Rishi discovered atom, 14 centuies before Dalton, would also be taught to students.

SCERT (State Council of Educational Research and Training) was working for the last couple of years to 'improve' the curriculum and its Director Bhagirath Kumrawat says that hitherto the students were getting education in proper way. Now the education would be in accordance with Indian culture and traditions, he adds. The text books are ready and will be in the market in the next couple of days.


Yet another blow for BJP

Close on the heels of the defeat in Shivpuri by-polls, the State BJP has suffered another jolt in Itarsi where it lost the post of municipal corporation chairman.

Congress candidate Ashok Sahu beat BJP's Padma Prakash Soni by a margin of 1420 votes. The post was vacated following the demise of Prakash Soni. His wife was given the ticket by BJP. However, despite the ruling party putting in immense efforts, they lost the election.

After the drubbing received in Shivpuri, the BJP has suffered a setback again. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has given shikshakarmis a bonanza, by upgrading 'Shikhakarmis' to the post of teachers and increasing their pay. More sops might come for various sections of the society as the feeling would sink in that the electorate is losing faith in the party. In Shivpuri by-election, Jyotiradiyta Scindia had got the credit for victory and here it is Union Minister Sursh Pachauri, whose stature has risen with this win.


American 'missionary' attacked in Raipur

Unidentified persons attacked Steve Ellison, an American, settled in India, and injured him when he was taking a walk in Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh.

It is believed that BJP-supported Dharam Sena activists could be behind the attack. Several attacks on foreigners have occurred in Raipur lately by organisations who are against conversion of tribals to Christianity. Steve, 55, a diabetic, was taking a walk when he was attacked.

He was beaten up and attacked with a heavy object in the head. He lost consciousness and was admitted to the hospital. American embassy has got in touch with local authorities over the issue. The activists who attacked Elison in Pandri area, had asked him to go back to the country, he came from. The State Home minister has described the incident has unfortunate and said that action would be taken against the guilty after their identity is established.


CM's love for flying

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who was given the nick name 'Paon Paon wale bhaiya', for going to far-flung areas on foot, and touring the distant villages of his constituency, has now begun to enjoy flying.

Not even car or rail, the Chief Minister now prefers to fly. His love for helicopter has grown. Recently he had to go t Mangalore and was invited for a Cow Convention, which was to be held 150 km near Mangalore.

So the helicopter was sent from Bhopal to Mangalore, an eight-hours journey for which fuel was burnt, so that the CM could fly from Mangalore to the venue of convention, which was barely a 2 hr drive by road, reports Dainik Bhaskar. "Just for a function of 1-2 hrs, helicopter had to fly for 16 hrs (to and fro)', writes the paper on Monday.

IAS officer Vijay Patidar's demise stuns

Vijay Patidar, who had the image of an upright officer, recently passed away in America. What he did to deserve such an untimely death, remark many citizens. 'Why is that the corrupt don't even catch fever but the honest either die or suffer in other ways'.


Girl charges state minister of making threatening call

A girl couldn't get married as the bridegroom didn't turn up on the day of marriage over the dowry demand of Rs 15 lakh. The girl, Divya, a software engineer, has now charged the State minister for higher education Tukoji Rao Pawar amongst others of making a threatening call to her.

Divya was supposed to get married to Siddharth Shinde, also a software engineer posted in Hyderabad. He hails from Indore and the 'baraat' was to reach Bhopal on Thursday but the girl's family waited endlessly only to find that the baraat hadn't taken off. On her complaint the police have registered a case against Siddharth and his parents under dowry act.

But the girl, Divya, has also named Tukoji Panwar, who is Siddharth's cousin, in her complaint. She has alleged that he also made a phone call to her and claims that he had threatened her. She made the claims on Star News (TV Channel). The minister agreed that he spoke to her but denied that he threatened her at all. The opposition Congress may try to corner the BJP government over the issue in coming days.


Economic boycott of Muslims is the solution: Togadia

Economic boycott of Muslims is the only way to tackle the growing 'jehadi' mentality amongst the Indian Muslims, said Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia in Bhopal.

In a meeting of VHP office-bearers, Togadia expressed concern over Hindu girls eloping with Muslim boys in Bhopal. 'If there are 25,000 Muslim families doing business in Bhopal and the Hindus boycott them, that will teach them a lesson", said Togadia.

Togadia told the local VHP leaders that stopping goods from Muslims' shops and establishments would hit them hard. The recent marriages of Umar-Priyanka, Rehan-Neetu and other inter-religious couples were discussed at the in-house meet.

Pravin Togadia is the international general secretary of VHP. He said that in the next five years the VHP aims at constructing one temple each in 7 lakh villages in this country to bring a revolution and take the message of Hindutva far and wide, reports an RSS mouthpiece, Swadesh.


Indore Jains divided: Statues broken, faces blackened at Gommatgiri

Jains in Indore are divided over whether statues of living persons could be installed in a temple or pilgrimage.

A clash of ego between two prominent Jain businessmen, Bharat Modi and Pradip Kasliwal has led to a situation where a group of Jain youths stormed into Gomatgiri pilgrimage where they broke down the statues.

Dozens of youths stormed into Gomatgiri pilgrimage of Jains and broke the statues of Bharat
Modi and Kusum Modi, and blackened the faces of statues. The Digambar Jains are divided in two groups in Indore over the controversy whether living people's statues should be installed in temple.

Digambar Jain Yuva Sangathan activists armed with rods and other equipments reached the spot and brought the statues down. The statues of Chandraprabha Modi and Babulal Patodi were not touched but youths warned that they would have to be removed as well soon.

The Samaj is divided between Bharat Modi and Pradeep Kasliwal. The latter alleges that Modi has got mad due to his wealth and got his statues installed in the temple premises. The visitors have to see these statues of living persons before seeing the statues of Mahavir and other tirthankars.

Digambar leader Babulal Patodi said that even another prominent Jain Sir Seth Hukum Chand was also installed in his life time and it is not wrong. The activists who demolished the statues were led by Rohit Dhanote and Akshay Kala.


Dalit bridegroom can't ride horse in his marriage

A Dalit bridegroom has been warned not to dare enter the village, riding a horse. The musclemen of the village in Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh, have issued the diktat to the youth just before his marriage.

The marriage procession (barat) will leave Sagar for Bamuri village but the bridegroom is scared as the upper castes in the village have threatened that he would not be allowed to enter the village riding a horse. In rural Madhya Pradesh, especially the backward Bundelkhand region, lower castes are traditionally not allowed to ride horse in their marriage.

The groom, Surendra, has threatened to commit suicide if he is not allowed to ride a horse. His uncle Vrindavan Ahirwar says that the entire family is in the state of fear because of repeated threats. Meanwhile, the police officials are keeping an eye on the development.

Surprisingly, the Village sarpanch Azad Yadav has said that the diktat was not issued due to the caste but because the by-lanes in the village were 'narrow and the horse couldn't enter them'. With the issue reaching top officials and Dalits angry over the firman, the senior officials are making an effort to put an end to the conflict and ensure that the marriage is solemnised without any dispute.

Niranjan Sharma, the In-charge of Bandri police station under whose jurisdiction falls the village, says that he has spoken to the Sarpanch in this regard. In the past Upper Castes especially Thakurs and to an extent Brahmins disallowed Dalits (Scheduled Castes) from riding horse or fetching water from their wells but lately OBCs (Other Backward Castes) like Yadavs are seen getting into such conflicts with Dalits more often than the Upper Castes.


Dacoit Rambabu Gadaria's death

Dreaded dacoit Rambabu Gadaria who perpetrated a reign of terror in Chambal ravines for a decade was killed in an encounter in Shivpuri on Tuesday. Contractors, traders, village money-lenders and police feared this ruthless dacoit, who had committed massacres like Bhanwarpura and Karsena in the last decade.

His animosity with Rawats and Gujjars was well-known. But for Saharia tribals and his own Gadaria caste, Rambabu was a Robinhood. His escape from police custody when is gang had thrown chilly powder in the eyes of policemen, had earned him the sobbriquet of Chambal's Veerappan.

He was wanted in connection with over 125 cases including murders, abductions and loots. He killed policemen and informers and extorted the businessmen and contractors. After his elder brother was gunned down in an encounter last year and many other members arrested or killed, Rambabu's gang had weakened. The police are now looking for the tens of crores which he had looted and extorted, and kept with his confidantes including some money-lenders.


RSS' grip on administration in Madhya Pradesh

The police officer who tried to stop the communal violence from escalating in riot-hit Talen town in Rajgarh, by taking on an RSS office-bearer had to pay the price with his suspension.

Naturally, no police officer was willing to uphold law and take action in the recent incident of elopment of Umar and Priyanka when former's brother was illegally detained for five days. The bureaucracy succumbed to the diktats of Saffron organisations.

Narsinghgarh SDOP (Sub-divisional Officer of Police) Suryakanat Sharma was suspended even before the inquiry of DIG was completed. One Ajab Singh Yadav was killed and local Hindu outfits wanted to avenge the killing. RSS leader Pramod Pawar had openly boasted that he could engineer a riot any day, reports Hindustan Times' correspondent Ashutosh Shukla, in a report published on April 14.

It was Friday, Muslims were assembling for prayer when Hanuman Jayanti procession was taken out in front of the mosque without permission. SDOP Sharma objected and there was an altercation.

The local RSS, Bajrang Dal, VHP and BJP leaders dared police to arrest a single person. The riot led to several deaths and injuries to scores of persons apart from large-scale arson. However, it was later when the police reached Pawar's house to arrest him that he jumped off the roof to evade arrest. In process he received injuries.

Pawar later claimed that he was beaten by police. Without waiting for report of the inquiry, the BJP government axed the officer. The local MLA Mohan Sharma is a former Bajrang Dal leader and a known criminal Nitesh Agarwal was leading the procession, reports the newspaper. The three towns, Narsinghgarh, Biaora and Talen in Rajgarh district had recently witnessed communal clashes.


Against love marriage at Indira Gandhi's statue!

The group of Sindhi women who staged a demonstration in Bhopal against the marriage of Priyanka Wadhwani and Umar (now Umesh after conversion) made a wrong choice of place for their 'dharna'--the statue of former PM Indira Gandhi.

When they were asked why they were sitting under former PM Indira Gandhi's statue, one of them said that she was an avatar of Durga. This prompted some photographers to ask, 'But she also married a person outside her religion'. 'Didn't she marry Feroz, who was a Parsi, against her father's wishes?'

They fumbled for reply. The women protesting against inter-caste and inter-religious love marriages definitely had an unwise choice of location. And when the TV Channels' cameras are around, the mistake is more glaring. It was then that the women realised their mistake and hurriedly left the place. The women were earlier raising slogans against Priyanka for bringing bad name to her family and also the entire Sindhi community in Bhopal.


IAS officer sentenced to two years imprisonment

A Madhya Pradesh bureaucrat was on Thursday sentenced to two years of imprisonment by a local court in Bhopal in a five year old corruption case. This is the probably the first incident of an IAS convicted in a corruption case in Madhya Pradesh.

Ramesh Thete, an officer of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) was caught while taking a bribe of Rs 1 lakh way back in February 2002. Thete was then posted as Director (Employment and Training) and was caught red-handed while accepting Rs 1 lakh bribe from NR Borle, the principal of an industrial training school.

The anti-corruption agency, Lokayukta, had caught him and registered case under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Special police establishment Lokayukta prepared a charge sheet against him. Congress government had revoked his suspension.

But subsequently the charge sheet was present in the court. Judge SK Raghuvanshi held him guilty of corruption and sentenced him to 2 years of imprisonment apart from fine. Thete said that he will appeal against the decision in the High Court.

Inter-religion marriages: Sindhi panchayat's diktat, police officials exposed

The reprieve to love couple Umar-Priyanka has brought the polie and administration on the backfoot. The Mumbai High Court held the marriage as legal and refrained the police from arresting the couple.

The Bhopal police officials who had illegally kept Umar's brother in illegal detention for five days, are now running for cover. The court decision has come as a savior for the other couple Rehan and Neetu, again a Muslim boy and Sindhi girl, who ran away after the first couple.

(Bajrang Dal and Hindu Kanya Bachao Samiti activists protesting in Bhopal)
The police and administration that earlied seemed to act as per the directions of the Saffron brigade and harassing the families of eloped teenagers has now changed its stance. On television channels the Bhopal police officials IG Sanjeev Singh and DIG Anuradha Shankar Singh had a lot to answer for the early statements of police officials denying illegal detention of Shakeel.

The entire top police brass kept lying but they were exposed due to a cell phone clip showing Shakil in police station. Ironically senior IPS officers went against the law in the State capital in this case. The role of Sindhi Panchayat has also come in for sharp criticism from various quarters.

The Central Sindhi Panchayat of Bhopal on Wednesday issued the diktat that the community should not let their girls use cell phones, drive two-wheelers and cover their faces. The Panchayat fears that two-wheelers give girls freedom and mobile phones lead to friendship.

By covering the face the girls go along with any youth and nobody can spot them, fears the Panchayat members. Girls have however reacted strongly and said that restrictions on girls alone can't be tolerated. At Bhopal's Nutan College, girl students expressed outrage over the diktat and criticised it.


Madness over an inter-religious marriage in Bhopal

College students Umar and Priyanka ran away from their homes on April 2 and appeared in Mumbai a few days later after their marriage as per Vedic rituals with Umar's conversion to Hinduism with a changed name Umesh.

But Hindu organisations are still fuming. First the RSS, BJP and VHP threatened the administration of dire consequences and laid siege to the office of Superintendent of Police. They mounted pressure on the government, which forced the police to illegally detain Umar's brother Shakeel at a police station in disregard to the law.

Senior officials refused to take phone calls of television channels on Monday when Umar (Umesh) and Priyanka appeared on television and the girl said that she had not been converted and it was the other way round. She also said that there was risk to their love if they return to Bhopal.

Interestingly, the organisations that initially claimed that Muslim boys were abducting Hindu girls and marrying them, have raised their pitch even after the boy's conversion was made known. The VCD of the couple's marriage notwithstanding, they want immediate arrest of the couple though they are adult and have submitted an affidavit in the court in Mumbai.

With BJP government in the state, the police officials were searching for words as they did not have any thing to say about the legality of a youth arrested and kept in police station for three days without being arrested for any charge. Umar's father Shafiq Pahalwan and the entire family claims that they are being victimised.

Meanwhile, the BJP, VHP, Bajrang Dal and RSS leaders have threatened to intensify the stir. The girl's father said that the VCD and the conversion was just an eyewash. Priyanka has told media persons from Mumbai on phone that she fears that the moment they will return, the police will arrest them and made her change statement under pressure before handing her over to her parents.

Observers feel that though the theory of turning Madhya Pradesh into a mini Gujarat could be far-fetched, the aim of these organisations could be to increase the polarisation further as the election is not too far. Already, the riots across the state have led to a surcharged atmosphere.

However, fingers have also been pointed out at the manner such an issue has been turned to raise tempers. Though there have been incidents of rapes in the capital and crimes of much higher magnitude in the past with girls, nothing prompted veteran leaders like RSS' Uttam Chand Israni to come on the street and sit on a demonstration.

Priyanka Wadhwani's father is a trader. It may be pointed out that there have many incidents involving inter-community marriages involving various religions but none prompted such emotions. The elopment of a Muslim girl by a middle-aged medical practitioner is a case in the point. But the communal frenzy witnessed in this incident of elopment has crossed all limits.


Communal violence in Talen (Rajgarh), 2 killed

On Saturday night the historic town of Talen in Rajgarh witnessed communal violence after a row between two youths. One person died on the spot while another succumbed to injuries later.

Stone pelting and group clashes followed and half-a-dozen persons were seriously injured. One of them Ajab Singh Yadav reportedly died in hospital. Police had to use teargas and force to disperse the mob. Also, they had to fire in the air to control the situation.

Senior officials including Collector and SP had rushed to the spot by midnight. Section 144 was imposed and the situation was tense. Nearly 50 persons have been arrested so far. Two other towns of the same district viz. Narsinghgarh and Biaora were also rocked by riots recently. Three persons had died in Narsinghgarh and property worth lakhs gutted.

Talen, a sleepy town in Rajgarh, was an important place for both the Holkar and Scindia dynasties. It is a town and Nagar Panchayat, situated 90 km from the Rajgarh town. The sensitive Shajapur district is on the Southern border of Rajgarh.


Gangster's surrender & BJP leaders' proximity

Bhopal don Muzaffar Husain alias Munne Painter, who modelled himself upon Haji Mastan, and has been convicted in the case of gang war in court, surrendered to police on Thursday night amid high drama.

A BJP leader of the rank of district vice-president was present with Painter when he surrendered. It is not that Painter's relations with top BJP leaders are not known publicly. He is said to be close to a senior politician and a former Madhya Pradesh chief minister. Another former Chief Minister of state is also reported to be close to him.

What explains the manner in which the Central Jail Superintendent was suddenly replaced. Isn't it to ensure that Painter lives in the jail in comfort and runs his business from inside? But with politicians close to him, nothing will change for him--whether he is in jail or outside. Seeing a BJP politician standing with him while surrendering, a journalist quizzed the reasons of this friendship and the answer was 'communal harmony, the hallmark of Bhopal'.

The other gangster, Mukhtar, who has been sentenced to death, is close to a Congress leader. Interestingly, both Mukhtar and Painter were together until 12 years ago when a dispute turned these friends into foes. The shootout in district court had led to three deaths in cold blood inside the court, with one dying just on the dais of the magistrate. Nine persons have got life imprisonment in this case at the High Court and two, Mukhtar and Asif Mamu, got the noose. They will be hanged. However, they can appeal to the Supreme Court.


Bhopal gangster Mukhtar gets death sentence, rest sentenced to life imprisonment

The Jabalpur High Court on Thursday awarded death sentence to absconding gangster Mukhtar Malik and life term to his rival Muzaffar Husain alias Munne Painter in the shoot-out case involving death of three persons in the court premises by these rival gangs in 1996.

Another accomplice Asif Mamu also got death sentence while half-a-dozen other accused were sentenced to life term. The court had held them guilty last week and reserved its judgement. All the nine accused involving Mukhtar and Munne had been convicted by the bench earlier. Soon after hearing the judgement, Mukhtar, Muzaffar alias Painter and Asif Mamu had escaped from court premises, causing a sensation.

Ever since raids were continuing in Bhopal, Jabalpur and neighbouring districts. Munne Painter holds considerable influence in certain areas of Walled City in Bhopal. He allegedly runs betting syndicate. Arch rival Mukhtar Malik, who had shot at Painter before the shoot out, is a history-sheeter with influence in Raisen, Gauharganj, Sultanganj, Obaidullahganj and 34 Miles.

Munne Painter has allegedly been close to a senior BJP leader. Interestingly, the shootout case that had left three dead in court including one dead in front of the judge, was tried in Bhopal court earlier. The judge had acquitted all the accused then. The High Court has ordered hanging for two and life term for the rest.

Update: Later Mukhtar Malik got relief from the higher court. The Supreme Court upturned the court's order.


Three killed in communal violence in Narsinghgarh town in Madhya Pradesh

On Hanuman Jayanti, the Narsinghgarh town witnessed violence that left one dead and over a dozen getting injured. Nearly 50 shops were set afire by a rampaging mob. Two bodies were later recovered on Tuesday.

The trouble began when the procession on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti was reportedly stoned when it was passing the Ramkund locality. The stone pelting resulted in injuries to some persons in the afternoon. Shoot at sight orders have been issued.

Subsequently, tension gripped the town. The communities had a confrontation. Police used force and tear gas to control the rampaging mob. One person, Sadeep Bairagi, was killed. Though it was reported that police fired at the mob but it could not be officially confirmed. Narsinhgarh has witnessed communal riots in the past as well.

It is located in the communally ultra-sensitive Rajgarh district in the Malwa region. The Rajgarh district had recently witnessed a clash in Biaora town and also communal tension had gripped Sarangpur. The entire region has been put on high alert.

The towns in Rajgarh have a mixed population with large Muslim population in urban areas of the region. The local MLA was an activist of Bajrang Dal in the past. Besides, Hindu-Muslim tension is not a new thing in Rajgarh district, that borders on Malwa and Bhopal regions.

Senior officials have rushed to Narsinhgarh and more police force has been sent. SAF and STF has also been rushed to the town. The situation remains tense but under control, an official told the media persons. Madhya Pradesh is witnessing communal violence across the state despite the fact that it was always considered a peaceful state and free of communal violence.

Curfew was imposed later in the evening. IGP reached the town by night. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh has said that stern action would be taken against the troublemakers. Narsingarh was a princely state before independence.


Communal tension in Chhatarpur, Khandwa and Bhopal

Communal tension is spreading to other parts of the state also. After Malwa region which has seen a spate of communal violence, the incidents in Chhatarpur, Bhopal and Khandwa on the same day, signal that something is seriously wrong.

At Chhatarpur, the Bajrang Dal, VHP and BJP leaders openly flouted the ban on public display of arms and fired in the air during the procession of Ram Navami that for the first time passed through Muslim localities of the town. Link to a story on Chhatarpur.

The Muslim community also took out a sort of procession ahead of Id Milad-un-Nabi and loud music was played when they passed the temple at Bus Stand. This caused a confrontation and a nearly 2,000 people from both sides resorted to attacking each other with stray objects. The police used tear gas and cane charged the mob.

However, the Milad-un-Nabi procession is scheduled on April 1 and there could be a display of arms in this procession as well. Though police has been called from three districts and top officials are camping there, the situation remains tense.

In Bhopal, a cow that got injured in an accident led to confrontation (Link). Rumours spread that a person belonging to other community attacked the animal. Stone pelting led to several persons getting injured in Barkhedi near Jehangirabad. Again, it was Bajrang Dal and VHP that was responsible. In Khandwa also there a violent clash during an auction that took a communal turn.

The state government appears helpless and unable to act tough against anti-socials and also Bajrang Dal members. It is said that groups within the BJP and the Uma Bharati's Bharatiya Jana Shakti may not be too unhappy with the scenerio.


By-poll results: Congress win Sidhi, BJP retain Gwalior

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has received a setback with the Congress win in Sidhi and the low margin with which Yashodhara Raje Scindia won in Gwalior. To its consolation it won the Udaipura assembly constituency easily. However, the message is clear that they shouldn't write off the Congress.

Sidhi Lok Sabha seat:
Congress wins. It's candidate Manik Singh defeats BJP's Kunwar Singh. Manik got 2.12 lakh votes while Kunwar Singh secured 2.11 lakh votes. The margin was merely 1586. Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP) chief Hira Singh Markam got 71,000 votes.BSP 42,000 SP 17,000. The campaign was led by Arjun Singh's son Rahul Bhaiya alias Ajay Singh. Arjun couldn't come for the campaigning owing to his ill health.

Gwalior Lok Sabha seat:
Here BJP's Yashodhara Raje Scindia defeated Congress' Ashok Singh by a margin of over 35,000 votes. It was the first occasion when a Scindia family member (Jyotiraditya Scindia) had campaigned against a familly member.

Udaipura Assembly seat where polls were held has been retained by BJP. Shashiprabha Singh defeated Congress candidate Sahab Singh by 19,079 votes. She got 52,544 votes and Sahib secured nearly 33,000. After Ram Pal Singh had resigned, the bypoll was held. Shashi Prabha is Ram Pal's wife.

The by-polls for the two Lok Sabha seats were necessitated after BJP MPs Ramsewak Singh and Chandrapratap Singh were expelled from the house after being accused in the 'cash-for-query' scam. The by-election in Udaipura was caused by the resignation of Rampal Singh, who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Vidisha - a seat vacated by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.


Two Shrivastavas in charge of Culture

So two Shrivastavas, one an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer and the other an officer of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) are holding the reins of culture in Madhya Pradesh.

IPS Pawan Shrivastava is Director, Culture.
IAS Manoj Shrivastava is Secretary, Culture.

The State government was already facing flak for pushing its agenda and Saffronising the institutions. First DP Sinha was made Chairman of Bharat Bhawan Trust followed by another RSS man Rameshwar Mishra Pankaj who has been posted as Trust Secretary.

The earlier Secretary Panka Raag was shifted due to pressure from RSS. Hema Malini is also in the Trust of Bharat Bhavan and so is Shani Gaur. Does the latter have any cultural background!


Uma Bharti returning to BJP

The grapevine from within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Bhartiya Jana Shankti Party (BJSP) is that Uma Bharti could come back to BJP soon.

With Uttar Pradesh elections round the corner, she wants a good deal for her at the national level and the state also. She can return to BJP as General Secretary and those close to her can get into the Shivraj Singh Chouhan's cabinet.

The fiery leader is biding her time and wanted to bargain. Insiders say that she didn't want to appear in a hurry. With her supporters in cabinet, Bharati will again crack her whip in the state. She has been maintaining that 'the state government' was her 'baby' that was stolen.

There is no doubt, Uma has learnt a lot in her exile and exit from the BJP. The temperamental Sadhvi knows that she has been cheated. She put Babulal Gaur in the chair of CM when a court warrant on the issue of disrespect to national flag, made her relinquish the post. But Gaur turned against her only.

The sexy sanyasin understands that BJP needs her. She has put up candidates in Punjab elections to put pressure on party at national level even as she decided not to put a Jan Shakti candidate in the fray for by-poll in the state. Those who made merry in her absence and had turned their back towards her, will be wary of her return.


Ramdev cult grows in Madhya Pradesh

Baba Ramdev has become a favourite with the BJP government. Official machinery was at yoga guru's beck and call during his stay in Bhopal.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the top brass of BJP attended his yoga sessions religiously and even the Congress leaders despite their initial protest, could not stop themselves from showing their faces at the Baba's programmes.

The cult is growing. If he says Lauki is good, the Lauki disappears from market as everybody goes to buy it. Madness has swept this state and Ramdeo is panacea for all ills. BJP feels that it can exploit the Swadeshi saint.

But the Baba doesn't want any tag. He has the whole world to conquer. He categorically denied that it was a BJP function and repeatedly said that he respected and welcomed Congress men equally.

But former CM Babulal Gaur reached the yoga session in his RSS uniform--khaki shorts--and the discomfiture of Baba was evident.
Baba needs land, he needs to open institutes, compete with Sri Sri and all others the world over.

party warty apni jagah, aakhir, Baba ko to apni dukaan chalaani hai!


It's Cow Vs Commoner for BJP

Nothing changes for the BJP as they seem to never learn from their past mistakes.

When the need is good governance, they change names of towns, drop Twinkle Twinkle from the children's poetry book, introduce Surya Namaskar or Saraswati Vandana, press for Vande Mataram or do similar exercises that don't take them anywhere.

Rather than working for the poor, under-privileged and other weaker sections who vote en masse, the party even ends up turning the middle-class against it. What's the use of dropping Twinkle Twinkle and how come it is against Indian culture.

Now they are back to Gau Mata. The schemes of cow sheds are in a dismal state, the cows are dying in Gaushalas but they have decided to make punishment for cow slaughter more stringent--a punishment of 10 years. The Cabinet further decided to make it mandatory for the cow or any bovine species being transported from other states through MP to get an advanced permission from the State Government for the purpose, writes a newspaper.

Their world vision will never change and they can't look beyond Cow though in process the common man might get severely affected and disenchanted with the Saffron party, vote for the Congress.


BJP/RSS leader ties knot on Valentine's Day

BJP Secretary Arvind Bhadauria married ABVP leader Archana Guru on St Valentine's Day in Bhopal. Senior BJP and RSS functionaries attended the marriage and blessed the couple.

No wonder that there were no statements against V-day this year and no attacks on card galleries or blackening of couple's faces. Though the party leaders played down the marriage, the leaders naturally felt awkward and looked uneasy explaining their stand on V-day.

It was a 'love marriage'. Though Bhadoria said that it was just a coincidence that the wedding happened on this day, his wife said that it was a great gift for her on the auspicious day. BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya jokingly said that,'hamaare liye to roz hi valentine day hia'. Bhadoriya comes from RSS background

RSS leader Sanjay Joshi came from Delhi to attend the marriage. Interestingly, no Bajrang Dal or BJP leaders issued any statements against Western culture though just a couple of days back Ram Madhav here had spoken vehemently against V-day and had termed it a corrupting influence on Indian culture.


Builders, brokers and bureaucrats run Bhopal

Who runs Bhopal? Clearly, it is the builder-broker-bureaucrat nexus that has emerged as the most potent power centre in the capital of Madhya Pradesh.

Builders are minting money and have capitalized on the real estate boom. Many of them have now made foray in other businesses, set up industries and are prominent in political parties.

A builder is considered the most powerful man in Bhopal these days. He is said to have provided finances to the party and is now reaping dividends. Bureaucrats were always powerful but under current regime, they are wielding clout more than previous governments.

The lack of familiarity of BJP leaders with administration and governance has made the bureaucrats autocratic and many are no longer shy of throwing parties, travelling in luxury vehicles and living life kingsize. And there is no Digvijay Singh or Arjun Singh to cut them to size and tell these babus to 'behave'.

The remaining space is filled by brokers (or say dalaa), which are numerous. They complete this trio that has made a mess of Bhopal. You need government orders, illegal sanction for property or any unauthorised job, get close to any of this trio and you will surely get things done--of course, at a price!


Tribal party angry over RSS appropriating their deity

The masterstroke of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in terming Bada Deo, the tribal deity for centuries, as incarnation of Lord Shiva, has taken the Gondwana Gantantra Party by surprise.

The GGP has become quite strong in tribal dominated areas in Madhya Pradesh and the party has been resisting Saffron brigade. The GGP is also trying to keep the tribals away from BJP-RSS and their outfits that try to Hindu-ise the tribal populace.The Gondwana Ganatantra party workers also urge tribals to remove Hindu idols from their homes and desist them from keeping Ramayana in the house.

But the party has received a jolt with RSS consecrating the tribal deity in Dindori where a big function was held to mark the occasion. Bada Dev was termed as the avatar of Shiva. The aim is clear to everybody. RSS wants all Gonds in Hindu fold. Swami Akhileshwaranand Giri of RSS claimed that the deity was Lord Madhveshar according to Hindu scriptures.

The event was held to mark the birth centenary of MS Golwalkar. MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was present along with KS Sudarshan. RSS' Vanvasi Kalyan Kendra is campaigning to keep missionaries away from tirbals. The Gondwana party's influence has worried both Congerss and BJP as it had not only won a few seats but affected their fortunes in a dozen other assembly seats.

For more information about GGP. Click


Riots in Madhya Pradesh: A distinct pattern in state

A sudden wave of riots hit Madhya Pradesh recently. First, communal violence raised its head in Jabalpur followed by communal clash in Indore and subsequent communal tension in Biaora (Rajgarh) and Guna.

The state was peaceful for quite sometime and the communal bug has suddenly bit Madhya Pradesh. Observers are suspicious that this pattern of riots could be a calculated handiwork for vested interests. In Jabalpur, the posters of Jain community's Gajrath Festival were allegedly torn up, that caused tension.

In Indore, the Muharram procession was stoned at. And similar rumour about posters was circulated. In the ultra-sensitive Rajgarh district, the Biaora town witnessed riot when people returning from tazia procession were charged of damaging posters of Hindu Sammelan. In Guna, stones were pelted at the Muharram procession.

From the Western district and commercial capital Indore to Jabalpur in the East the communal violence was witnessed in just a week. Clearly, mischievous elements are out to disrupt the communal harmony in Madhya Pradesh.


Hoshangabad will become Narmadapuram: The politics of changing names

Another old name goes. Hoshangabad will become Narmadapuram, promises Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan recently. The aim is obviously to get some political mileage and votes (though election is quite far).

Surely Narmada is a holy river and considered sacred. Residents of Hoshnagabad district specially revere the River. But will it improve the life of Narmadapuram residents? Hoshang Shah's name can't be erased from history and neither his beautiful tomb that is located in Mandu.

It would not put off Muslims as the minority population is nearly insignificant in Hoshangabad. BJP is quite strong in the district. The final decision may be taken a year later so that it could translate into votes. We are not exactly happy with the decision though we have no love for Hoshang Shah either. Government should focus more on issues than naming and renaming exercises that are more or less futile.

From Vande Mataram to Surya Namaskar

The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government can't remain away from controversy for long. First, it forced everybody and sing Vande Mataram and even expected Muslim madarsa students to do the same.

It caused a major controversy. Now a similar controversy over Surya Namaskar. The High Court had to say that nobody can be forced to perform the Surya Namaskar. Can't the state government leave the government school kids alone.

After all schools run by Christian missionaries don't pay heed to government and the poor children who sit on the 'taat-patti' and are denied proper education, are expected to come to all government functions to fill the vacant grounds, stadiums and make rallies successful.

Madhya Pradesh Lokayukta in high-mode

Madhya Pradesh Lokayukta is in a high-mode. Buoyed by the Supreme Court decision in Prakash Singh Badal case, the Lokayukta police presented charge sheet agaisnt BJP State minister Jugal Kishor Bagri and MP Ganesh Singh for irregularities in the appointment of Shikshakarmis.

Now it plans to charge-sheet the bureaucrats as well. Sources say that IAS Vinod Semwal is next in the line. More chargesheets would follow soon. Earlier, the state government did not permit the Lokayukta to present charge sheet. However, with the Supreme Court verdict, the situation has changed.

Besides, cases against high-profile officials are also being registered. The latest being a case against Chhattisgarh IG Mukesh Gupta. Gupta, the then IG Ujjain, had made phone calls costing Rs 1.25 lakh, in a week. He had later paid the bills but the then DGP SC Tripathi had deemed it fit as case of 'income disproportionate to known sources of earnings'. Now the Lokayukta has booked Gupta, who is IG (Home Guards) at Chhattisgarh.

The website of Lokayukta is www.mplokayukt.nic.in

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