Forty-eight deaths, weeks of national outrage and the Supreme Court ordering a CBI probe into Vyapam scam have failed to temper Madhya Pradesh BJP’s haughtiness. Speaking to reporters on Sunday, state BJP chief Nandkumar Singh Chauhan said, “Hamey Vyapam ko lekar koi afsos nahi hai (we’ve no regret over the Vyapam scam).”
Chauhan’s statement came a day before party boss Amit Shah’s arrival in Bhopal on Monday. Shah will kick off BJP’s “Maha Jansampark Abhiyan” (mega mass-contact campaign) to control the raging Vyapam fire.
“Seven lakh students appeared through Vyapam for various examinations and only 2,000 students were found involved in rigging. This is not a big issue. Those responsible for the scam are behind bars,” Chauhan said.
Attacking the Congress, Chauhan further said the party was making false claims and dishing out wrong figures of Vyapam deaths. Only 31 deaths were confirmed officially, he said. Backing the embattled chief minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the state BJP chief said, “Shivraj Singh cleaned the system, ordered separate investigation by STF and finally recommended CBI inquiry. He should be lauded.”
In fact, the BJP has instructed its cadre to aggressively confront all the charges against Chouhan. At a special training session conducted by the state additional attorney general, Purushendra Kaurav, the party instructed spokespersons to project the CM as the first whistle-blower of the Vyapam scam.
The party men were coached on technical aspects of the scam, including the number of deaths, suspicious deaths of college deans and professors, and the party’s stand in the Supreme Court.
A similar training was also held in Delhi where party spokespersons were informed about the Vyapam scam. Kaurav said deaths of Jabalpur Medical College deans Dr D K Sakalle and Dr Arun Sharma were unrelated to the Vyapam case, and the Congress claims are a farce.
MP Congress said RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and BJP chief Amit Shah should sack chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The party also said it would hold a condolence meeting for those who’ve died in the course of investigations into the Vyapam scam.
Congress general secretary Mohan Prakash said BJP is scared of a CBI inquiry and trying to shield Chouhan, and charged that the party’s bid to repair the damage to its image by the large number of deaths will fail unless the CM quits. The party is also protecting some influential RSS leaders whose names cropped up in the Vyapam investigation, he alleged, adding that with the help of state police the party has given clean chit to all.