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BJP infighting comes to fore in Madhya Pradesh

Statesman News Service | Bhopal |

Internal rifts in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Madhya Pradesh came to the fore yesterday when BJP MP Manohar Untwal and BJP MLA Gopal Parmar almost came to blows publicly in the Agar-Malwa area during the ongoing ‘Ekatma Yatra’, which is being promoted by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Fearing a dent in his image due to the incident, CM Chouhan took strong exception to the irresponsible behavior of party leaders, and have summoned both of them to provide an explanation.

BJP state president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan and state organisational general secretary Suhas Bhagat have also expressed anger at the incident and have called for an explanation from Parmar and Untwal.
“I have spoken to the leaders on phone and after getting all the details about the dispute, I will seek explanation from both of them,” Nandkumar Singh Chauhan told some media persons at his residence at Bhopal today.

On Wednesday, when the yatra was passing through the Agar-Malwa area, Parmar was carrying the ceremonial flag. However, Untwal and his supporters demanded that the flag be handed over to a couple of the Valmiki community. Nonetheless, when Parmar continued carrying the flag, supporters of Untwal roughed him up in an attempt to snatch the flag from him.

Consequently, there was heated altercation between Untwal and Parmar and supporters of both leaders came to blows.

An enraged Parmar later lodged a complaint against Untwal and his supporters. Parmar allegd that Untwal and his supporters were in an inebriated condition at the time of the incident.

Untwal, on the contrary, maintained that it had already been decided in the yatra schedule that the flag would be handed over to a couple of the Valmiki Community on entering Agar-Malwa area. He admitted that when the MLA refused to follow the scheduled plan, there was a minor dispute.

Manohar Untwal is the BJP Lok Sabha member from Dewas parliamentary constituency while Gopal Parmar is the sitting BJP MLA from Agar-Malwa. Both are senior Dalit leaders, but have differences since long time over local issues.

Commemorating the teachings laid down by Adi Shankaracharya, the professed objective of the ‘Ekatma Yatra’ is to promote social harmony. It was launched simultaneously from four areas in the state on 19 December, 2017 and would culminate at Omkareshwar on 22 January, 2018.