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Cong cousins skirt trap

Bhopal, Jan. 8: Madhya Pradesh Governor Bhai Mahavir’s perceived attempt to create fissures within the “Congress parivar” has boomeranged as it has brought the two warring chief ministers, Digvijay Singh and Ajit Jogi together.

Mahavir, a former Hindu Mahasabha activist who has a running feud with Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh for the last four-and-a-half years, yesterday wrote to the state government suggesting a CBI probe into Jogi’s son’s caste certificate.

The Governor observed that an impartial inquiry was required to probe a complaint that the Chhattisgarh chief minister’s son, Amit Jogi, had allegedly obtained a false caste certificate.

Mahavir raised eyebrows last week when he lambasted the Digvijay administration at a function in Udaipur. The function was organised by the Sangh parivar-affiliated Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad, where the Governor shared the dais with RSS officials. On several other occasions, Mahavir had said there was “jungle raj” in Madhya Pradesh, causing embarrassment to the Digvijay regime.

Digvijay, whose antipathy for Jogi is well-known within Congress circles, refused to be drawn into the controversy, pointing out that a similar complaint was filed against Jogi earlier and that the matter was pending before a court.

The Congress, Digvijay and Jogi have already rubbished the charge that the Jogis are Satnami Harijans and that they have obtained false certificates as tribals.

Earlier, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes had recommended a CBI probe against Jogi but the Congress denied the charge, pointing out that the commission was headed by BJP leader Dileep Singh Bhuria.

Jogi appeared unfazed. He maintained there was nothing “irregular” or “improper” about his son’s tribal status. He said a desperate BJP was trying to make political capital out of a “non-issue”.

Sources close to Jogi and Digvijay alleged that Mahavir, whose term as Governor is coming to an end in April, chose to act on his own. Assembly elections are due in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh later this year.

BJP leaders, however, gave a clean chit to Mahavir. He was merely fulfilling his constitutional duties, they said.

It was up to the Digvijay administration to take action, they added. They said the Governor had merely acted on a complaint filed by one Prakash Chandra Jain.

In Congress circles, Digvijay’s move to bail out Jogi is being watched with great interest. Most state Congress leaders are convinced that Digvijay gave Jogi a clean chit to save Congress chief Sonia Gandhi from any embarrassment. But Digvijay loyalists said: “We follow the dictum: Me and my brother against the cousin, me and my cousin against the stranger.”

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