IAS officer who praised Nehru back in soup for trashing Modi

The Bharatiya Janata Party government in Madhya Pradesh on Monday asked Indian Administrative Services officer Ajay Singh Gangwar to explain a purported Facebook post calling for a people's revolution (jan kranti) against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

This comes days after Gangwar was transferred following his Facebook post in which he praised Jawaharlal Nehru. The notice sent today is silent on this point.

The one-line notice has sought his explanation within seven days on a purported Facebook post dated 23 January 2015, which referred to an opinion piece in the editorial page of Jansatta. The piece, written by a contributor, was critical of Modi's Make in India programme.

Gangwar claimed the post in question is not on his timeline and that he may have 'liked' an article shared on Facebook but never made that comment. ''I will ask them about the source of that post. They probably got it from social media. They are doing this because their action of transferring me for my comments on Nehru boomeranged on them. They are doing this to divert attention,'' said the 54-year-old officer.

Sharing the purported Facebook post in which Gangwar has 'liked' the article, S K Mishra, principal secretary to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who holds the general administration department portfolio, said, ''The government acted when the anti-Modi post was brought to its notice. It has nothing to do with his comments about Nehru.''

Last week, Gangwar, who was posted as the district collector of Barwani, was transferred as deputy secretary in the secretariat in Bhopal ''on a temporary basis till further orders''.

Calling it an ideological battle, Gangwar said, ''Whatever policy they make about freedom of speech and expression has to conform to the Constitution. Otherwise, it will be challenged in a court of law.''

Stating that a Facebook 'like' or 'share' was similar to handing over a book to someone in library, he asked, ''will that also invite punishment?'' Accusing the government of gherabandi (siege), he said the government appeared to prefer those who toe its line.

He said the action would have been justified if he had refused to carry out official work. ''I am not in favour of preparing Aadhar cards for children up to five years of age because the card may get lost or the face could change, but I am continuing with the mandate,'' he said.

Asked if he was planning a political career, he said, ''I am a social person. A social person can always turn political.''