The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Crushed, wrist and ego

Raipur, Aug. 8: Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh, once a wrestler and an ayurvedic doctor, used to pride himself on never having fallen ill. Yesterday, the BJP’s Lakhiram Aggarwal dealt a crushing blow to his claim when he fell on Singh’s left wrist and broke it.

Aggarwal, a heavyweight in every sense of the term ' he is a BJP patriarch and the scale zips past the 90-kg mark when he steps on it ' has of late been airing his dissent against Singh. He is believed to have told his associates that the chief minister needed a “dose”.

At a state BJP executive meeting yesterday, the party veteran had cautioned Singh: “Be careful, power can be so intoxicating that you will not realise when it hits you.”

Hit it did barely a minute later when Aggarwal, who is more than 78 years old, started walking and his dhoti got entangled in his chappal, bringing him down.

His son and state finance minister Amar yelped for a hand and the chief minister readily obliged. The burly politician landed on his left wrist and fractured it.

For the next few hours, Singh kept applying the stem of Cissus Quadrangularis or hadjod, a medicinal plant that supposedly speeds up the healing of a fracture by its impact on early regeneration of all connective tissues.

But the doctor’s faith in ayurveda did not prove to be of much help.

Writhing in pain, he was rushed to the Raipur government hospital, where an X-ray revealed a simple fracture and the wrist had to be plastered.

An unabashed supporter of alternative medicine, Singh said during an election rally that ayurveda and naturopathy had a cure for everything. “I drink lots of mattha (butter milk) and it keeps me free from all diseases,” he had said.

For BJP-watchers, the incident was not without a message.

As a party general secretary put it, Aggarwal wanted to give his bete noire a “dose” all right, but did not realise it would come in such a bizarre fashion.

The duo has not been getting along too well for some time with Aggarwal accusing Singh of being laid-back and not “doing enough”.

In his address at the BJP executive yesterday, the veteran leader lashed out at the chief minister without mincing words. He said that in his political career spanning many decades, he has seen the downfall of many a high and mighty.

Arjun Singh, P.C. Sethi and the Shuklas, V.C. and Shyama Charan ' all towering leaders of undivided Madhya Pradesh ' have come crashing down to earth sometime or the other.

“At the fag end of my life, I have a dream ' a dream of seeing the BJP rule Chhattisgarh for 20 years and more. But the way things are going, I can only pray,” Aggarwal had said.

Other speakers too complained of the growing distance between the BJP state government and the party.

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