New Delhi: Sumitra Mahajan, former Lok Sabha Speaker and ex-MP of the Bharatiya Janata Party from Indore in Madhya Pradesh, has created a flutter after she said at a programme Sunday that she took help of local Congress leaders to raise issues related to the development of her former constituency to build pressure on the then-Shivraj Singh government.
Mahajan claimed that quite often she couldn’t raise her voice in matters of public interest due to “party discipline” and, therefore, she chose to seek help from Congress leaders to get work done.
An eight-term MP from Indore, 76-year-old Mahajan was denied a ticket in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as the BJP decided not to field contenders who have crossed 75 years of age.
While talking to ThePrint, Mahajan, more or less, reiterated what she said at the programme.
“Sometimes, some issues regarding the development of Indore needed to be raised. On such occasions, I used to tell some Congress leaders that ‘you raise issues and demands, and I will go and talk to Shivraj’. For example, when I wanted some roads to be built in Indore, I used to tell them to raise it,” she said.
Mahajan, who is affectionately called tai (sister) in Indore, said when her own party was in power, she couldn’t have protested over issues related to public interest.
“A certain amount of public pressure is required to solve some problems,” she added.
The Congress unseated the BJP in the state after 15 years in the assembly polls held late last year.
What Mahajan had said
On Sunday, Mahajan had attended the inauguration of the state-run Maharaja Yeshwantrao Hospital’s canteen. Governor Lalji Tandon, Congress ministers Tulsiram Silawat and Jeetu Patwari — both are MLAs from Indore — were among those present at the programme.
Patwari is the state’s higher education minister and Silawat is the health minister.
The former MP had said that it wasn’t possible for her to raise her voice against the state government led by her own party. “On such occasions, I used to tell Tulsi Silawat and Jeetu Patwari to raise issues for the sake of Indore,” she had said.
Mahajan even praised the ministers, saying that whenever she had asked them to raise an issue, they had done it with sincerity and earnestness. She even said Patwari had all the qualities to be her ‘disciple’.
“When our agenda is development, then we should not be constrained by thinking about party politics,” Mahajan had added.
Mahajan a victim of Modi govt’s dictatorship, says Congress
Reacting to Mahajan’s comments, Congress leader and chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala termed it an example of Narendra Modi government’s dictatorship.
मोदी सरकार की तानाशाही से खुद पूर्व लोकसभा अध्यक्षा, श्रीमती सुमित्रा महाजन पीड़ित थी, जनता के मुद्दों पर अपनी बात पार्टी मंचों पर नहीं रख पाती थी।
उसके लिए वो कांग्रेस के नेताओं का सहारा लेती थी।
क्या ये डर नही तो और क्या है? pic.twitter.com/PzEuvP1sB7
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) December 2, 2019
“Sumitra Majahan herself was a victim of Modi’s government’s dictatorship. She was not even able to put forward issues of public interest before her own party. For that, she had to seek help from Congress leaders. If this is not fear, then what else is?” he asked on Twitter.
Also read: Rs 48-lakh Jaguar sedan bought for Speaker Sumitra Mahajan lies idle in Parliament garage
Politicians working together across party lines to get work done for their constituencies is an old Maharashtrian tradition. Consider the remarkable life journey of a girl born in Ratnagiri, by the sparkling waters of the Arabian Sea, moving to Madhya Pradesh, the heart of India, ending up as Speaker of the Lok Sabha in imperial Delhi.
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