MP recipients were told to send “thank you” cards.
In Madhya Pradesh, a political scandal has started because the government told people who got help from different welfare programmes to send thank-you cards to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The opposition Congress called it a “misuse of power” on the part of the government.
According to orders from different district panchayats, the state’s rural development department has given different departments goals for how many letters of thanks from people who have benefited from central and state government programmes should be sent to the PM and CM.
The order came at a time when the state government, which is led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was holding Vikas Yatras (development rallies) all over the state to talk to people about development and help for the poor. CM Chouhan started the yatras on February 5 in the district of Bhind. By February 25, they will have visited all 230 assembly constituencies.
“In the video conference of the chief minister that the state government set up on February 12, it was asked to make sure that beneficiaries of all the schemes run in the district thank the Prime Minister and the chief minister through postcards for the benefits they received,” said an order from the Harda district panchayat to various departments on February 15.
The order said that the General Administration Department had told the media, social media, and other channels to spread the word about Vikas Yatras in all of the state’s villages and urban wards.
The Harda district panchayat wants 21 departments to send a total of 141,000 thank-you cards. “We set goals based on who will benefit from each department,” said Rohit Sesoniya, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Harda district panchayat. “We won’t make anyone write postcards against their will.”
Officials who know about the situation said that the postcard will “remind the beneficiaries” of the government benefits they are getting.
“The people who benefit want to say thank you, and we’re just a way for them to do it. “CEOs of Janpad and panchayat officials are giving them (beneficiaries) postcards and addresses so they can say thank you,” said Ajay Shrivasatava, CEO of the Damoh district panchayat. “In Damoh, we haven’t set goals for each department, but we have asked that all the beneficiaries be taken care of.”
Some officials said they were told what to do with the postcards, while others said they were told to do it without being given an order. “Senior government officials have been told to make sure that as many thank-you postcards as possible are sent to the Prime Minister and the chief minister,” said a senior panchayat department official who asked not to be named. “It’s hard to figure out why the CEOs of district panchayats put out an order in this way.”
The issue has stirred up politics in the state, which will hold elections for the state assembly later this year. The opposition Congress criticised the BJP by saying that it “forced” people to write thank-you cards.
“What does the state government led by the BJP want to do with this? They first said that they were going to put on the Vikas Yatra by misusing government resources. “Collectors and other district officials are busy with the Vikas Yatra,” said KK Mishra, a spokesman for the state Congress. “And now, it’s up to the people in charge of the panchayat to get written thanks from the people who got help. In Madhya Pradesh, they are abusing their power.”
Hitesh Bajpai, a spokesman for the BJP, said, “The orders that district CEOs are giving are wrong. CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has never asked anyone in the past 17 years to send a thank-you letter or show gratitude.
(With inputs from Agency)