Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Madhya Pradesh higher education minister Dr Mohan Yadav said on Wednesday the Congress is resorting to false propaganda over the construction of 'Mahakal Lok' that was recently damaged in a storm and claimed that irregularities of not even the "size of a hairbreadth" took place in the project.
The minister of the BJP-governed state, where assembly elections will be held on November 17, said the powerful windstorm also didn't spare the "warehouses" of opposition leaders. He said the Congress didn't even leave Lord Mahakaleshwar for politics but the move will prove counterproductive.
Congress has been targeting the ruling party alleging irregularities
The over 900-metre-long corridor - Mahakal Lok - near the famous Lord Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain suffered damage in May due to a windstorm. Since then Congress has been targeting the ruling party alleging irregularities in the redevelopment project around the ancient shrine, one of the 12 'jyotirlings' in the country.
"These are false propaganda as irregularities of not even the size of a hairbreadth took place in the construction of the Mahakal Lok. A strong windstorm caused damage to the idols. And nature spared none, not even Congress leaders' warehouses that day," Yadav, who hails from Ujjain, told PTI in an interview.
When a storm of that force or a natural calamity hits, it spares none, not even the Kedarnath temple, he said. The windstorm was so powerful that it caused damage to the "warehouses of Congress leaders" as well as double-storey houses of people, the minister claimed.
"Though (idols) were damaged, the same were replaced by the contractor at no extra cost. It has not cost a single penny to the exchequer," said Yadav, who is contesting the polls again from Ujjain South seat for the third time. Yadav has won the polls from this seat in 2013 and 2018.
The minister said the Congress raking up the matter as it has no other issues to raise but people understand everything.
"The Congress remembers Ramayana, Mahabharat, Ram Mandir and Hanuman only at the time of elections for the sake of vote bank," he said.
The latest example of the Congress' "vote bank or appeasement" policy is its stand on the Israel-Palestine conflict in which "it stood with Hamas, which was publicly tormenting women and children as seen in the videos", he claimed, adding that "India stood with Israel".
The Congress is raising the Mahakal Lok as it has resulted in a manifold jump in the footfall of devotees to the temple city and benefited the people of Ujjain economically in a major way, said Yadav.
Congress will be able to damage the goodwill generated for the BJP
The Congress thinks that by talking about this issue, it will be able to damage the goodwill generated for the BJP among the people, he said. But the public knows everything and these things will prove "counterproductive" to the opposition party, the minister said.
In every rally addressed by both Gandhi siblings - Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra - ahead of the MP polls, the Congress leaders have claimed "rampant corruption" in the state, especially in the construction of the Mahakal Lok, whose first phase was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The idols of 'Saptrishi' got damaged in the powerful windstorm in May and since then, the Congress has been alleging that the BJP has not even spared the God from corruption.
Asked about the BJP's move to field big faces in the assembly polls, Yadav said their leadership always takes a decision in the interest of the party and none of their leaders like Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Prahlad Patel and Faggan Singh Kulaste, MP Rakesh Singh and general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya are shying away from contesting the elections.
"But, the situation in the Congress is different. Its top leaders, right from former chief minister Digvijaya Singh to Vivek Tankha to Arun Yadav are running away from contesting assembly elections," he said.
"This shows that the Congress is losing its support among the public. That's why its leaders are not ready to contest assembly polls," Yadav said.
Yadav laughed off the Congress' claim
Yadav laughed off the Congress' claim that it was not declaring its candidates due to the ongoing 'Shraadh Paksha' (inauspicious period) and because they are the real followers of 'Sanatan Dharma'.
"It shows that the Congress has accepted defeat in the coming assembly polls. What is left with the Congress now? In the next 32 days, polls will be held and it is unable to declare its candidates. Congress is worried about the outcome and therefore, not opening its cards," he said.
The minister said, "Our party has come out with the fourth list and the fact that they are unable to release a single one till now shows that it is feeling uneasy as polls are approaching fast." On the issue of OBC (Other Backward Caste) politics and the demand for a tribal chief minister, he said that it was the BJP that had given top posts - president, prime minister and chief minister - to OBCs and tribals.
"The Congress has not done anything for the minorities and OBCs during its long tenure and is now talking about them just to gain power. Similarly, they are raising the issue of Sanatan Dharma and spreading confusion among the people just to get political mileage, but it will not succeed," he said.
To another question, Yadav said that the presence of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and others will not affect the BJP. Rather, it will damage the Congress' prospects as AAP did in other states, he said.
Referring to the higher education department in MP, the minister said that during the BJP government's tenure, 54 new government colleges were set up in the state and 40 new courses were started. Madhya Pradesh is among the leading states in the country in implementing the National Education Policy (NEP), he claimed.