Opposition leaders have demanded an inquiry against district information officer of the UP government in Meerut, Ashutosh Chandola and accused him of violating service rules after he forwarded a message about the Bharatiya Janata Party farmers’ cell’s ‘tractor pujan’ programme to reporters on Tuesday.
Opposition leaders also said he was resorting to publicity for the BJP.
The message that Chandola forwarded to journalists said ‘BJP’s kisan prakosth (farmers’ cell) would organise a “tractor pujan programme in support of the farm reform bills near the Saket crossing at 1pm”.
Chandola remained unfazed by the opposition’s outcry. “I forwarded the message,” he acknowledged and said that he did so after being requested.
When asked whether he would forward similar messages of opposition parties on their request, he replied, “BJP is the ruling party, that’s why I forwarded (the message). How can I do it for the others?”
District magistrate K Balaji said he was unaware of the issue and would look into it.
Samajwadi Party district president Rajpal Singh demanded Chandola’s suspension. “There are many officials who have been working as workers of the BJP,” he said.
He also said Chandola’s act was against service rules and that senior officers must take cognizance of the matter. The party will stage a protest, he added.
Rashtriya Lok Dal’s organisational general secretary Rajkumar Sangwan said officials like Chandola seemed to have forgotten their actual responsibility and started acting like a dedicated worker of the BJP.
He said such acts of officials were against their service rules and democratic norms. He suggested senior officials look into the matter and initiate action.
BJP’s Lok Sabha MP from Meerut Rajendra Aggarwal also said it was a gross mistake by the information officer. “It was the responsibility of the party’s media cell to circulate party programmes in the media,” he said.
Gajendra Sharma, the BJP’s media in-charge in the district, supported the MP’s views. While it was the responsibility of the party’s media cell to publicise the activities and programmes of the organisation in the media, it was the information department’s duty to do the same for the government and its ministers, he said.