BJP ignores'bribe' row; counts'gains'

Bhopal: BJP patriarch L K Advani's nationwide anti-graft Jana Chetna Yatra had its own share of controversies when it passed through the party-ruled Madhya Pradesh last week, but that did not deter the party from claiming success of the campaign.

Opposition Congress raked up the issue of corruption in the state to embarrass the BJP, which is in power in Madhya Pradesh since December 2003.

Before the yatra entered the state, journalists at Satna alleged they were paid money by the local BJP unit to cover the high-profile event, being used by the saffron outfit to highlight the issues of corruption and black money.

The incident forced the BJP to remove its media in- charge of Satna district, Shyam Gupta. The party was also quick to claim it has politically gained from the yatra. State BJP Spokesman Vijesh Lunawat told PTI, "the party has politically gained a lot in Madhya Pradesh."

Advani's yatra evoked good response in the areas which are not BJP strongholds, like the Vindhya region, he stated.

The rath covered those Lok Sabha constituencies which the party lost in the 2009 general elections like Rewa, Mandla, Shahdol, Hoshangabad and Chhindwara, Lunawat said.

It covered a total of nine Lok Sabha, and 34 Assembly seats, traversing a distance of 1100-km in five days, he said.

It provided an opportunity to State organisation General Secretary Arvind Menon, Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and State BJP President Prabhat Jha to extensively tour these areas as part of preparation for the yatra and interact with the party workers.

Asked about the Satna incident, Lunawat said the presence of a large number of people in the nine meetings that Advani addressed is a proof it had no impact on the yatra.