BHOPAL: The Bharatiya Janata Party, by electing a senior legislator from the Vindhya region as Speaker, has tried to bury the issue that the area has been ignored at the time of ministry formation. The issue has caused embarrassment to the ruling party for 10 months. With the election of Girish Gautam, a promise — made to the people of Mangawan by former Union minister and present Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu 18 years ago — has been brought to fruition.
Gautam, a legislator from the Devtalab Assembly constituency, used to contest elections from Mangawan before its demarcation in 2008. Gautam defeated former Speaker Sriniwas Tiwari in Mangawan in 2003. At that time, Naidu had announced at an election meeting that, if the people of the constituency voted for Gautam, he would be made a minister if the BJP should form the government. After 2003, the BJP has formed the government thrice in the state, but Naidu’s promise made to the people of Mangawan remained unfulfilled.
Meanwhile, the constituency of Gautam was changed in 2008. So, he began to contest from Devtalab. Although Gautam has not been inducted into the ministry, the party has given him a post more important than that of a minister. He has won elections four times in a row. After every win, he expected to get a ministerial berth. But, as the number of posts in the Cabinet is limited, he had to wait for an important berth.
In the elections of 2003, Gautam had raised the issue of the voters’ list. As a result of that, he defeated Tiwari. Thousands of fake names were struck off the voters’ list after Gautam raised the issue. For that reason, he became very popular among the voters. Gautam does not originally belong to the BJP. He has been a member of the Communist Party of India. Comrade Gautam opted for the saffron party before the elections of 2003. Gautam has fought most of his battles against Tiwari, known as ‘white tiger’ in Vindhya politics. It was, in fact, Gautam who raised the issue of fake Vidhan Sabha appointments, a probe into which is going on.