What does it take to mobilise people for rallies attended by the Prime Minister? For possibly the first time, documents have surfaced in Madhya Pradesh which provide some insight but not the complete picture.
The documents also suggest that a sum of ₹17 crore had been sanctioned from the budget of Swachh Bharat Mission for transportation alone. Since the district administration of Singrauli, alone, (120 buses) had asked for a sum of ₹85.6 lakh for transportation, the actual expenditure on transportation is likely to be much higher than what appears to have been sanctioned.
Doubts have also been expressed over another communication from Development Commissioner Radheyshyam Julania, which suggests that only ₹2.84 crore have been sanctioned for participation of people at the function, where the Prime Minister and the chief minister would be inspiring people to clean and conserve rivers.
The controversy has triggered a debate on the use of public funds to essentially political ends. The Madhya Pradesh Government would be hard put to even name the hundred thousand people or more, said critics, who attended the rally as people engaged in cleaning and conservation of Narmada.
Significantly, the arrangements seem to have been made in a matter of a few weeks, with most communications referred to in this report dated between May 6 and May 12.