MP Home Minister creates row, asks villagers to join Congress first for getting funds

The opposition BJP, while terming the development as misuse of his office by the home minister, has demanded that Bala Bachchan be dismissed by the state’s Governor Lalji Tandon.
For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)
For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)

BHOPAL: A political controversy has erupted in Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh after state’s home minister Bala Bachchan was caught on camera purportedly telling residents of a village in his assembly constituency to join the Congress first for getting funds for a community hall.

The opposition BJP, while terming the development as misuse of his office by the home minister, has demanded that the home minister be dismissed by the state’s Governor Lalji Tandon.

The video which has gone viral dates back to Monday night, while Bachchan, who is a four-time MLA from Rajpur assembly seat of Barwani district, was addressing a felicitation function organized by the Patil Samaj in the Jalgaon village of his constituency.

At the function, Bachchan (a close confidant of Chief Minister Kamal Nath) first asked a man in the gathering about how many of the 110 Patil families residing in the village belonged to the Congress.

He subsequently said, “We gave crores of rupees here, but didn’t get votes…people took money from us, but didn’t give us votes.”

The home minister, added, “I’ll give you more sum than what you’re demanding, but think and join the Congress first because we’ve to give an answer to all of them (my party workers),” said Bachchan while pointing towards the Congress workers sitting among the gathering.

“We’re no longer going to be fooled…we did everything for you. We’ll give more where we’ve got the lead (in elections). We’ve sanctioned roads worth Rs 50 crore from where we got leads (during the polls),” Bachchan said.

Importantly, Bachchan, the four-time MLA from Rajpur seat won the 2013 elections by around 11,000 votes from Rajpur but managed to retain the same seat by just 900-odd votes in the 2018 polls, when his party returned to power in the central Indian state after 15 years.

With the video of the home minister Monday late-night conversation with villagers going viral, the opposition BJP termed entire development as the misuse of his office by the minister.

“It not only amounts to misuse of office by the minister but is also like threatening people to join Congress. This video also exposes how the home minister has even violated the oath of office and secrecy administered to him for becoming the cabinet minister. We demand that the Governor, taking note of this development dismiss Bala Bachchan as a minister,” demanded state BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal.

However, while trying to play down the controversy after the video became viral on Wednesday, Bachchan said, “Before deriving any conclusion, you should first listen to what I’m saying. I was speaking to my party workers at that meeting, particularly the booth level workers. My words are being misinterpreted,” claimed Bachchan on Wednesday.

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