Shivraj Singh Chouhan not keen on Bhopal contest? Here’s what he said on potential battle with Digvijaya Singh

There have been reports that Chouhan, who is also BJP vice president, may be fielded from one of the seats but the party leadership has so far not made any official comment.

Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan

Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan Monday indicated his unwillingness to contest the upcoming Lok Saba polls, saying he wants to work in the state. There have been reports that Chouhan, who is also BJP vice president, may be fielded from one of the seats but the party leadership has so far not made any official comment.

“I had said that my wish is to work in Madhya Pradesh. I will accept whatever the party decides,” he told reporters when asked if he would be contesting the general election. The BJP is yet to announce its candidates for several seats, including Bhopal and Vidisha, in Madhya Pradesh. Chouhan had won from Vidisha for five consecutive terms before he resigned in 2006 after becoming the state’s chief minister.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj represent the constituency in the Lok Sabha. She, however, has announced that she will not fight the polls due to health reasons. Chouhan remained the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh for 12 years and is also a member of the BJP’s parliamentary board, its apex decision making body.

Rahul a “habitual liar”, says Shivraj

The BJP Monday accused Congress chief Rahul Gandhi of being a “habitual liar” and asked people not to fall in his “trap” in the Lok Sabha polls, a reference to his recent promises to the poor, including the minimum income scheme. BJP vice president and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan claimed Congress governments in states like Madhya Pradesh have “cheated” farmers by not fulfilling their promise of waiving agriculture loans.

There was no immediate response from the Congress to the BJP’s attack on its president. Chouhan told reporters Gandhi had claimed that the Congress will waive farmers’ loans within 10 days of coming to power in Madhya Pradesh but, he said, it had not been done even after 104 days of Kamal Nath taking over as chief minister. He played two video clips of Gandhi, first purportedly showing him making the promise and second in which he is heard saying that the state government has fulfilled it.

“Gandhi speaks lies with confidence and shamelessly. He is a habitual liar,” he claimed. Lakhs of farmers recently received a state government message telling them that the loan waiver exercise was put on hold due to the Model Code of Conduct that came into effect after the general election announcement, he claimed. It seems Kamal Nath had been waiting for the poll announcement so that he could get rid of this promise, he said taking a swipe at the state government.

Chouhan asserted that the MCC is not applicable on ongoing schemes and as such the government could have gone ahead with it if it wanted. What the state government has actually done is “cheat” farmers, he alleged, adding that against Rs 48,000 crore required for the loan waiver it has only allocated Rs 5000 crore in budget, out of which merely Rs 1300 crore has been given to cooperative and other banks.

Farmers in other states like Rajasthan and Karnataka, where the Congress has come to power, are also feeling “cheated”, he claimed. Referring to Gandhi’s promise of minimum income scheme for poor families, he said people should not fall in his “trap” and asserted that voters will teach the Congress a lesson in the Lok Sabha polls. “The Congress will be punished for its lies in the Lok Sabha polls,” he said.

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