A DAY after new Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee chief Kamal Nath took a jibe at Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, indicating that the latter may be a “nalayak” (unworthy) friend, Chouhan used the word in a self-deprecating manner nearly a dozen times at an event on Tuesday to talk about pro-poor schemes launched during his tenure.
“Hum nalayak hai kyunki humne colonies vaidh ki, hum nalayak hai kyunki hum ek rupaye me gehoon de rahein (I am nalayak because I regularised colonies; I am nalayak because my government gives wheat at Rs 1 a kilo)…” Chouhan, chief minister of Madhya Pradesh for more than 12 years, said while launching a campaign to legalise illegal colonies across the state at a function in Gwalior.
He also said, “Hum garibon ka ilaaj kartein hai to nalayak ho gaye. Yojana acchi hai par woh toh hamey nalayak kah rahein hai… (we provide free treatment for the poor but they call us unworthy. The scheme is good but they consider us unworthy).”
Responding to a question on his friendship with Chouhan during an interaction with the media on Monday, Kamal Nath, a nine-time Lok Sabha MP from Chhindwara, had said, “…koi mitra layak hotey hai toh koi mitra nalayak hotey hai’ (some friends are worthy, some are unworthy).”
After the Congress leader’s remarks went viral on social media, Chouhan chose to respond with a few lines on Twitter late Monday by playing on word Kamal (lotus, the BJP’s election symbol): “Only Kamal is worthy. We respect all and scream that only the lotus flower is worthy.’’
Meanwhile, the war of words between the two parties reached the cyber police, with the Congress accusing BJP leaders of hurting religious sentiments by denigrating Ramayan. The opposition party accused the ruling party of circulating a video that shows the CM in the role of Angad (a character in Ramayan), and Congress leaders take turns to move his foot but come a cropper.