The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) is known for playing diverse political games in the elections across the country. A new form of these games has come up in poll bound Madhya Pradesh, points out Bhopal based veteran journalist Lalit Shastri in this conversation with two other senior journalists, Rasheed Kidwai and Venkitesh Ramakrishnan. Shastri says that the new ploy is by using Jan Abhiyan Parishad, a non governmental organisation (NGO) funded substantially by the Shivraj Singh Chauhan led BJP State government. The Jan Abhiyan Parishad functions under the auspices of the government and, according to Shastri, is being used to bridge the gaps in the BJP’s campaign.
Shastri adds as follows. The BJP has an organization called Jan Abhiyan Parishad, which is like an umbrella which takes care of NGOs spread across the state. They have built a system where the Chief Minister is the President of the organisation and the Vice Chairperson is a political appointee. Every principal secretary of the state government is in the the executive of the Jan Abhiyan Parishad. What they do is to monitor and manage government schemes and their implementation at the grassroot level through the Jan Abhiyan Parishad. That is through the NGOs. So, this Jan Abhiyan Parishad NGOs and their volunteers are a sort of parallel BJP Army at the grassroot level.
The other day the opposition Congress party went to the State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) and filed a complaint saying that the government has just released a few crores of Rupees to thousands of NGOs working with the Jan Abhiyan Parishad. The response of the CEO was that everything is being done according to the Code of Conduct of the polls. The Code of Conduct does not bar the flow of money to NGOs under a government scheme because this is not a new announcement. But the fact remains that the pockets of the Jan Abhiyan Parishad NGOs are full and they are working at the grassroot level. So, this adds to the strength of the BJP.
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