Madhya Pradesh Congress files defamation suit against CM, state BJP chief

BHOPAL: State Congress on Monday filed a defamation suit against chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and state BJP president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan in the court of chief judicial magistrate Bhubhaskar Yadav for allegedly making an offensive statement against the party in Opposition during the Shahdol bypolls.

Post encounter of suspected SIMI terrorists here, the chief minister while canvassing for Shahdol bypolls and BJP’s candidate Gyan Singh in early November last year allegedly made a statement in a public meeting accusing the Congress party of protecting terrorism.

“He had said ‘Congress ka haath, atankwadiyon ke saath (Congress’ hand symbol in support of terrorists)’,” chief spokesman for state Congress KK Mishra told TOI. “After this speech in Shahdol, an edited version was uploaded in the official state BJP facebook page.”

Party leaders said that PCC chief Arun Yadav found the chief minister’s comment on the party “highly insulting” and authorised KK Mishra to take legal action. “On November 9 last year, the video clipping of the chief minister’s speech was uploaded in the BJP’s facebook page. Next day, we sent the chief minister and BJP state chief a letter by registered mail asking them to prove the allegation made against the Congress party. Nandkumar Singh Chouhan refused to accept the registered mail,” KK Mishra told TOI.

The Congress had demanded a public apology within 15 days for humiliating crores of Congress party workers and hurting their sentiments. “Congress is a 130 year-old party which lost father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajeev Gandhi and former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh to terrorism. For a party which has made so many sacrifices to fight terror, a sentence like this is highly objectionable,” Mishra added.
Congress claimed that the statement by the chief minister was made to gain political mileage during the by-election. “It was a well thought-out strategy to take advantage by showing the Congress in a poor light. The statement was made to influence voters,” Mishra alleged.

Chief minister Chouhan’s legal representative Srahraj Saxena gave a reply to the Congress’ letter dated November 10 in the first week of January. But with no apology coming, the Congress decided to take the matter to court and filed the law suit under section 500 (defamation) of the IPC in the court of the CJM on Monday. Case has been admitted and next hearing scheduled for March 1.