Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shvraj Singh Chouhan has come under opposition attack, and has been accused of “plagiarism”, over a poem he shared on Twitter last month when his father-in-law had died.
Mr Chouhan’s father-in-law – Ghanshyam Das Masani – died on November 18 at the age of 88. Four days later, the BJP leader shared few lines of a Hindi poem titled – “Bauji” (Respected Father) – on his Twitter account to pay tribute, and said it was written by his wife Sadhna Singh.
The social media post, however, has sparked a controversy after a Madhya-Pradesh based writer and branding expert – Bhumika Birthare – claimed it was her poem. “I am like your niece, what will you get by stealing my poem. This poem was written by me. Hope you will not violate my rights as “Mama” is known for protecting the rights,” she said on Twitter on Monday, tagging the Chief Minster, popularly known as “Mama-ji’ (uncle)’.
“Kindly give the credit to me sir. The poem is written by me and its title is “Daddy” and not “Baauji”. Don’t do injustice to my feelings for my father,” she said in a series of tweets, and also tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Speaking to NDTV, Ms Bithare said she had written the poem when she was grieving the loss of her father. “I wrote what I went through as I performed the last rites of my father. I used my phone’s notepad to write, and the date and time was mentioned. I also shared it on my family WhatsApp group,” she recalled.
“On November 21, I posted the poem on Facebook after coming back to Bhopal. My friend shared a screenshot, saying the Chief Minister’s wife – Sadhna Singh – had shared the poem in a WhatsApp group… I just replied with a smiley. But after that I came to know that the Chief Minister had also tweeted the poem, giving the credit to his wife. I have strong objection to this… you are my Mama, my favorite. I don’t want to politicize this. All I want is credit for what I wrote,” she added.
Criticising Mr Chouhan, former union minister and senior Congress leader Arun Yadav said: “The BJP is an expert in changing names. Earlier, they used to change the name of the schemes introduced by the Congress regime, but now Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is showing off a poem written by somebody else as that of his wife’s.”
The state BJP unit refused to comment on the controversy, saying it was a “personal matter”.
The opening lines of poem shared on social media read: “Jiske kandhe pe baith kar ghooma karti thi, use kandha de kar aayi hoon, uske mathe ko choomkar, zindagi ki nasihten lekar aayi hoon. (I used to sit on his shoulder but today I offered a shoulder at his last rites. I kissed his forehead and took lessons of life)”.