FROM THE TELEGRAPH, CALCUTTA
Bhopal, March 6:
The governor and the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh are not on talking terms.
The immediate reason for the freeze seems to be state higher education minister Tukojirao Panwar’s failure to show up at the convention of the Madhya Pradesh Universities Association on Saturday.
Infuriated by the “discourteous” conduct, governor Balram Jakhar, who was present at the meet, publicly said he felt insulted. To make matters worse was chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan’s late arrival, which prompted a punctuality sermon from the governor.
Today, Jakhar dispatched his secretary Bhopal Singh to convey his sentiments to state chief secretary Rakesh Sahni.
His list of grievances is long.
The octogenarian leader, who is a Congress veteran and a former Lok Sabha Speaker, is upset with the government’s handling of the law and order situation, particularly the growing attacks on Christians in Madhya Pradesh.
Jakhar has been sending letters seeking probes into cases of violence, but the queries are seldom answered.
In one incident of an attack on a religious assembly in Bhopal, the government replied, claiming that cases had been registered against the culprits. But Jakhar shot off another letter asking under which CrPC sections the miscreants had been booked.
Jakhar, who as governor is the chancellor of all state-run universities, is also unhappy with what he sees as the government’s interference in matters of higher education. The appointment of a BJP minister’s brother as the registrar of Gwalior University has upset him.
Regarding his absence from Saturday’s meeting, Panwar said he had informed Bhopal’s Barkatullah University that he was visiting Shajapur district. “However, if the honourable governor has felt offended, I will tender an apology.” But till this evening, he had not contacted Jakhar.
Sources said Jakhar was upset with Panwar as he was reportedly in Bhopal that day but still did not attend the meeting.
A source close to Jakhar said the incident was not an “isolated” one. “It has become a norm of sorts. Often the chief minister arrives late or makes him wait. On occasions, the chief minister leaves in the middle of a function.”
Chauhan refrained from making any public statement but sources close to him said Jakhar should have aired his views in private.