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Opp ups demand for Chouhan's ouster, BJP backs him

New Delhi: Amid mounting outrage over the Vyapam deaths, Opposition today sharpened its attack on Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, demanding his sacking over "coldblooded murders" but BJP backed its beleagured leader and disfavoured the state
ordering a CBI probe.

Congress, the Left and AAP also brought in Prime Minister
Narendra Modi in the line of fire, questioning his silence on
the "sordid affair".

"Shivraj Singh Chouhan should be sacked and an impartial
probe should be done in the Vyapam scam," Congress spokesman
Randeep Surjewala said in Delhi.

Former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram insisted that
Madhya Pradesh government recommend a CBI investigation before
the "next unnatural death", stressing the "buck stops with
the Executive".

Congress spokesperson P C Chacko said the "Chief Minister
cannot be spared and should take responsibility" along with
the Prime Minister.

"Prime Minister should explain and take moral
responsibility for what is happening in the country," he said
addressing reporters at the Congress headquarters.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was said
to be warming up to the Prime Minister, "condemned" the deaths
and said her party TMC will raise the issue in Parliament.

"It is not merely a law and order issue. It is something
bigger than that. So many killings have taken place. Many
people are involved. It is coldblooded murders," Banerjee,
also the Trinamool Congress chief, said in Kolkata.

"The Trinamool Congress will raise its voice against
Vyapam scam in Parliament. I strongly condemn the incident. It
should be investigated under the monitoring of the Supreme
Court," she said.

Amid calls for handing over the probe to CBI, BJP said
it was not averse to such an inquiry but the decision will
have to come from the Madhya Pradesh High Court, which is
monitoring the case.

"Why should we ask the high court to order a CBI or any
other probe? The courtappointed SIT is probing the case and
it is reporting directly to the high court. The court is
seized of the matter and can decide whatever it wishes. We
have no issues with any sort of investigation," senior BJP
leaders said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

BJP leaders have claimed that since the registration of
the FIR in July 2013, over 55 cases have been lodged and close
to 2000 of the 2500 accused arrested in various Vyapam scam

They said none from the families of the deceased persons
had alleged any foul play, except in one case where an accused
lodged in a Gwalior jail died under mysterious circumstances.

"Even in the journalist's death, the state government
accepted all demands of his family, including postmortem by a
panel of doctors and videorecording of the exercise," they

Congress has claimed upto 45 people related to the massive
admission and recruitment scam have died unnatural deaths and
said Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan cannot escape
responsibility for it.

CPI(M) accused the Centre of "encouraging" crime and
corruption and took potshots at the Prime Minister saying the
"normally outspoken" leader had not uttered a single word on
the "sordid" Vyapam affair.

"Worst thing is, the normally outspoken Prime Minister (is
keeping quiet). If nothing else, his tweets are famous or
infamous because it's oneway traffic of communication.

"But there is not a single word on this entire sordid
affair. Not one tweet, not one communication. So, nobody knows
what the Prime Minister is thinking," CPI(M) General Secretary
Sitaram Yechury said.

"This is worse than the 'Maunmohan' Singh characterisation
the present Prime Minister gave to the former Prime Minister.
Worst type of crony capitalism that is being built. And this
is now becoming a habit of this government to encourage
corruption with crime," Yachury said, terming the Vyapam scam
an "unprecedented" event.

AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
questioned the Prime Minister's silence over the mysterious

"People want Prime Minister to speak and intervene in
Vyapam. PM should no more remain silent. Vyapam scam and all
deaths so far ought to be thoroughly investigated. Guilty must
be punished. Something MUST be done to prevent more deaths,"
Kejriwal tweeted.

Meanwhile, Congress welcomed the Supreme Court's decision
to hear a petition seeking removal of Madhya Pradesh Governor
Ram Naresh Yadav, a former Congressman, for his alleged
involvement in the Vyapam scam, while BJP was guarded in its
response saying no politics should be played over the issue.

"Truth will prevail in Vyapam scam and many high
dignitaries are going to be unmasked in the scam in days to
come. Law of jungle is prevailing in MP," state Congress
spokesman K K Mishra said in Bhopal.

However, BJP's media cell incharge Hitesh Bajpai said
the rule of law was prevailing in MP and his party held the
orders of the apex court and other courts in high esteem.

"We highly respect court orders and directives. We will
aggressively fight the misinformation and the smear campaign
of Congress against BJP over the scam," Bajpai said.



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