Row over installation of Arjun Singh's statue in Bhopal

Row over installation of Arjun Singh's statue in Bhopal Bhopal, Nov 10 (PTI) A controversy has erupted overinstallation of a life-sized statue of Congress veteran lateArjun Singh at a busy trisection in Bhopal where the bust offreedom fighter Chandra Shekhar Azad had existed earlier.

Interestingly, it is the BJP-ruled Bhopal MunicipalCorporation (BMC) which installed the statue of Singh, aformer chief minister and Gandhi family loyalist who died in2011.

However, BMC mayor distanced himself from setting upof Singh's statue, which is yet to be unveiled.

BMC officials claimed Azad's bust was removed aboutthree years from the spot on Link Road No. 1 in New Marketlocality and was relocated at a spot along a nearby road.

The bust was relocated from its pedestal with twinobjectives to 'improve traffic condition' at the busytrisection and for widening a road.

Taking strong objection, BJP national vice presidentand former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sundaydemanded re-installation of Azad's bust at its originallocation.

'Madhya Pradesh is ashamed because of the treatmentmeted out to the bust of great revolutionary Azad. Thoseresponsible for this should be punished. We demand the statueof the great son of mother India (Azad) be re-installed withdue respect. Otherwise, the country will never be able toforgive itself,' Chouhan said.

However, Bhopal Mayor Alok Sharma of BJP claimedofficers of the civic body appointed by the Congress-led stategovernment never consulted him about installation of Singh'sstatue.

'The place for installing Arjun Singh's statue wasdecided by Congress leaders and BMC officers. They neverconsulted me,' Sharma told PTI.

On the other hand, BMC Commissioner B Vijay Datta saidthe mayor was indeed kept in the loop on the issue.

'We discussed the matter with the mayor whoconsented,' Datta told PTI.

He said Azad's bust was relocated for widening of roadand for improving traffic condition.

'Now, there is no such problem at this trisection,' headded.

Congress leader and corporator Amit Sharma said duelegal process was followed by the civic body in installingSingh's statue.

'We decided to install Arjun Singh's statue aftersecuring due permissions. There was no bust at this trisectionat present, according to BMC records,' Sharma claimed.

Singh's statue was supposed to be unveiled at thetrisection on November 11, but the event was postponed in viewof prohibitory orders in place in Bhopal following the SupremeCourt verdict on Ayodhya.

Singh had served as the 12th Chief Minister of MadhyaPradesh in the 1980s. He later became Union Minister of HumanResource Development in the then Manmohan Singh cabinet from2004 to 2009.

Singh was CM when the deadly gas leak from the UnionCarbide factory occurred in December 1984. It is alleged thatSingh fled to his Kerwa Dam Palace outside Bhopal to savehimself on the fateful night between December 2 and 3, 1984.

Serious questions were raised about his alleged rolein the release of Union Carbide chairman Warren Anderson. TheBhopal disaster took place in a plant allegedly belonging toUnion Carbide's (UCC) Indian subsidiary, Union Carbide IndiaLimited. PTI ADU NSKNSK NSK