In a development the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP Government in Madhya Pradesh could have well done without, state Tribal Welfare Minister Vijay Shah on Wednesday stepped down following a row over the alleged sexist remarks made by him at a public rally.
Shah’s continuation in the Cabinet had become increasingly untenable since he had also targeted the Chief Minister’s wife Sadhana Singh at Sunday’s meeting in Jhabua.
Despite his wife becoming the butt of a public joke, Chouhan showed great restraint and missives were sent to Shah to explain his conduct.
And Shah was summoned by state BJP chief Narendra Singh Tomar to his residence late on Tuesday night to clarify his remarks.
Tomar, meanwhile, told Express, “Shah offered an explanation but I don’t think that was sufficient and most of the (state BJP) office bearers with whom I discussed the matter were of the opinion that Shah should go.”
The issue has given the state Congress (MPCC) something to hammer the incumbent government with and it has already held statewide protests on the matter.
A section of the MPCC led by its spokesperson Manak Agrawal even took out a march flagging placards stating ‘Sadhna ke samman mein, Congress maidan mein’ in a bid to embarrass the BJP leadership.
Earlier, state Industries Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya had courted controversy in the aftermath of the Delhi gangrape with his comments that women should not cross the ‘Lakshman Rekha’.
Interestingly, both Vijayvargiya and Shah have been viewed in the state BJP as dissidents and the political circles in Bhopal have been agog with rumours of their personal ambition to unseat Chouhan from the CM’s post.