Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan on Thursday found time to inspect Food Corporation of India godowns that supply wheat to the public distribution system meant for the poorest of the poor.
Chauhan was not impressed with the red wheat imported at high cost.
"I got complaints from the people that substandard wheat was being supplied through the Public Distribution System in MP so I inspected this FCI godown and I think that this wheat is not even worth animal. It has got filth, wheat seed," he said.
Predictably, FCI has denied the charges. It says that state government was also responsible for quality checks.
The issue of supplying sub standard wheat through the Public distribution system in Madhya Pradesh had come up in October 2007 as well but at that time the state government had stood by the FCI and denied all charges.
Between October 2007 and now, the ruling BJP has lost three by elections and Chauhan is under tremendous pressure to find some emotive issue that can strike a chord with the electorate.
Madhya Pradesh is the third state after Maharashtra and Rajashan where the quality of the imported wheat is in the centre of a political storm.
But if you thought this was just one of those usual BJP versus Congress battles, consider this: Kerala and Andhra Pradesh have also asked for domestic wheat or white wheat for their consumers.
Red wheat can bleed the Congress in the states going to the polls this year. Chief Ministers like Chauhan have sense the discontent and are trying to extract maximum political mileage.