BJP, Cong vying to make Petlawad blast a poll plank for Ratlam-Jhabua by-polls
BHOPAL: The Congress
and the BJP are planning to make the issue of politically backed traders in the
Petlawad twin blast incident a poll plank for the ensuing Lok Sabha by-election
in Ratlam-Jhabua constituency.
The seat has fallen
vacant with the death of sitting MP and BJP’s senior tribal leader Dilip Singh
Bhuria in June last. Dilip Singh wrested the seat from his arch rival Kantilal
Bhuria of the Congress in 2014, with a margin of over 1 lakh votes.
While the Congress has
decided to put its cards on Kantilal, who still has a say in the constituency,
the BJP is trying to persuade Nirmala Bhuria, daughter of Dilip Singh, who is
grappling with the delicate situation after Petlawad blast, a major setback to
BJP’s image in the region.
State BJP has convened
a secret survey of the constituency to find out people’s mood after Petlawad
twin blast, in which more than 100 people lost their lives and 100 others suffered
injuries. “'Preliminary feedback is favourable for us, courtesy chief minister
Shivraj Singh Chouhan who took a massive tour of the affected region and got in
touch with blast affected 80 families in 17 villages,” said state BJP president
Nandkumar Singh Chauhan.
Chauhan boasted of
relief measures taken on a war-footing, immediately after the blasts and
claimed after legends like Mahatma Gandhi and Ram Manohar Lohia, it was chief
minister Shivraj Singh who dared to visit blast-affected villages instantly to
console the bereaved families.
He claimed a large
number of villagers have justified state government’s stand to book main
accused Rajendra Kaswa and others involved in the incident. Besides, a series
of raids conducted to check illegal storage and transportation of explosives
have reaped good results, said other BJP leaders.
To all anti-campaigns,
Chauhan has straight allegations, “Congress is trying to reap political mileage
from the tragedy.”
Contrary to the BJP’s
claims, the Congress has laid a scathing attack on senior party leaders for
having relations with the family of the accused. Congress is also trying to
link the incident with Vyapam scam, if recent tweet by party’s senior leader
and AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh is any indication. Digvijay had
tweeted, “Pictures released by the Congress showing Kaswa in RSS uniform and on
BJP stage. Was he also working for Sudhir Sharma of Vyapam Scam?”
spokesperson KK Mishra justified the comment saying Rajendra and Narendra
Kaswa, who illegally stored explosives in their shop and were responsible for
killing several innocents, have close relations with Chunnu Sharma, brother of
Sudhir Sharma, kingpin accused in the Vyapam scam. “It is a known fact that Kaswa
supplied explosives to Sharma brothers in Jhabua for mining purpose. Sharma
brothers own 12 mines of manganese and iron ore in the district,” alleged
Leader of the opposition
in MP Assembly Satyadev Katare alleged that the government was hiding exact
figures of toll in the twin blasts. “To my information, at least 130 persons
have died in the explosions while several others have injured. But the
government is yet to declare an updated figure,” alleged Katare.
He said it was
unfortunate that police registered case against Congress state president and
two others in the blame game of Petlawad blasts but did not accept Congress
complaint against BJP state head.
Congress leader from
Jhabua, Kantilal Bhuria meanwhile has staged a protest in the town demanding
action against BJP state president Nandkumar Chauhan for making false allegations
against Congress leaders and hiding the facts about Kaswa’s relationship with the