Millennium Post

Back doors and loopholes

The mega scam in Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (Vyapam) dominated the proceedings of the first session of the newly-elected Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha. Scathing attack was launched on the BJP government by Satyadev Katare, the new leader of Opposition.

Speaking on the motion of thanks on Governor’s address, Katare demanded that the government should punish the guilty irrespective of which party they were affiliated to. He said that party affiliations were being used by the accused to steer clear of the law enforcement agencies.
More than 100 persons are in jail in connection with the scam, which involved sale of seats in medical colleges and jobs in police, education department, state milk federation and several other
government bodies.

Katare said that there are Munna Bhai doctors, Munna Bhai police officers and Munna Bhai teachers with reference to backdoor entrants and added that the state had acquired the reputation of being a Munna Bhai state. He accused the CM of avoiding replying on the issue at which the CM said that he would reply on all issues. Katare added that if the government does not hand over the inquiry into the scam to CBI, the Congress would petition the High Court to direct the government to do so. Katare’s aggressive stance in the assembly resulted in the Speaker having to expunge his remarks more than 10 times. While replying to the discussion, chief minister admitted that irregularities were committed in the selection of personnel and in the conduct of tests by the Board but they were not on such large scale as the opposition was alleging. Chauhan said that 1,47,000 appointments were made in various departments through Vyapam since 2007, out of which only around 1,000 appointments were made in a wrongful manner.

The Opposition, dissatisfied with Chauhan’s statement, staged a walkout, Chauhan said manipulation in selections through Vyapam was a blot on the state government and that action would be taken against the guilty. Chief Minister said he committed a mistake in reposing trust in Vyapam but as soon as the irregularities came to the fore, instruction for tough action was issued. Chauhan said all appointments made since 2006 through Vyapam were being scrutinised and it was not fair to say that all candidates who were selected were suspect. He said a committee was formed to pinpoint the irregularities and the suspect candidate who cleared the entrance exams conducted through Vyapam were only given provisional admission. The admissions of candidates who were found fake was cancelled. Appreciating the Special Task Force (STF) of MP Police, which is investigating the scam, Chauhan said the instant action taken by it in the case was unique and had no parallel in the country. Another issue which agitated the opposition related to the Makhanlal Chaturvedi National Journalism University, Bhopal. The term of the present vice chancellor of the varsity ended on the 18 January. There were reports that Prof. Kuthiala, the VC, will get another term. It is widely known that chief minister Chauhan was against giving another term to him. But newspaper reports indicate that a section of the RSS leadership is mounting pressure on the chief minister. Both chief minister and opposition leader are the members of the varsity general council which has decisive role in the appointment of the vice-chancellor. The chief minister is the chairperson of the council. The council was to meet on 16 January to decide the issue. But Katare demanded cancellation of the meeting and alleged that under no circumstances Kuthiala should he given another term Katare alleged that under the stewardship of Kuthialal, the university had lost its prestige largely because of several acts of irregularities. Katare demanded cancellation of the meeting. And finally council could not meet. Failure of the chief minister to turn up for the meeting was stated to be the reason for the cancellation. Despite being present in Bhopal chief minister’s refusal o attend the meeting indicates how his mind was working. However it is certain that if Prof. Kuthiala is given another term it will reflect poorly on the chief minister.

During the Vidhan Sabha a very interesting incident took place. Before the Vidhan Sabha session, the government decided to allow sale of foreign Liquor (IMFL) at country liquor shops. When this issue came up before the cabinet many ministers opposed it. Despite opposition, the decision was announced. The move came as a surprise because only a few days after his re-election, the chief minister had announced that he was determined to put a check on addiction and alcoholism and no new liquor shops would be opened in future. The decision meant that IMFL would be available in 2,700-odd country liquor shops too in addition to the 600-odd IMFL shops in the State.

He however took a U-turn when he revoked the decision. He made this announcement in a dramatic manner. While announcing cancellation of the decision – he said ‘I took the decision with my mind but my heart said it was a wrong decision. I could not sleep the whole night.’ While the ruling party BJP did not make any change in the leadership of the government and the party, the Congress decided to change the leaders of both the organisational and legislative wings.

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