Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has dubbed the Congress as a divided house saying many of its leaders are being seen as chief ministerial hopefuls, and asserted that the BJP will retain power for a fourth consecutive term on the basis of its performance. With the assembly election due later this year and the Congress seeking to corner him over the issue of farm distress, Chouhan accused the rival party of instigating the farmers and claimed that his government had provided them maximum relief. Seeking to turn the tables on the Congress, Chouhan made light of its efforts to put up a united front by accommodating several state satraps in its poll campaign in various capacities.
“In different regions, we hear ‘abki baar, Scindia Sarkar (this time, a government led by Scindia)’, ‘abki baar, Kamal Nath Sarkar’, ‘abki baar, Bhuria Sarkar’,” he said referring to senior Congress leaders belonging to MP — Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kamal Nath and Kantilal Bhuria. He said the farmers in MP faced problems due to bumper harvest and fall in prices and that his government was working on a plan to suggest them about how much of a particular crop to be grown in a season. “Farmers have problems but the government is working to solve them,” he said in an interaction with a group of journalists at his residence here yesterday. He also accused the Congress of instigating farmers in the state.
“Congress is trying hard to create violent incidents in the state. Farmers are selling wheat and gram in mandis (wholesale markets) and they are instigating them. The Opposition is indulging in negative politics and trying not to allow anything to happen peacefully,” the chief minister said. Elections are not won by “faces and names”, they are won through performance, Chouhan said. “In the past few years, incredible work has been done in MP. We have managed to extricate the state from the ‘BIMARU’ category. Congress may try its best but we will form the government (again) in the state,” he asserted. Farmers are not “unhappy” with the BJP and they are supporting the party, he claimed.
Chouhan become the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh in November 2005 by replacing Babulal Gaur. Under his stewardship, the BJP managed to win 165 of the 230 assembly seats in the state in the last election in 2013. Referring to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s temple visits, Chouhan said that there was difference between show-off and genuine faith. “Hindutva is Hindutva there is no soft or hard Hindutva. People observe everything minutely. Such thinks won’t matter,” he said. BJP has its road map for elections ready and it will go to the people telling them about its performance and future plans, he said. He, however, refused to comment on survey reports claiming an edge to the Congress over the BJP in the run-up to the election in his state.
“I cannot comment on any survey. But people will vote to form a government. If there is anti-incumbency against anyone (MLA) on a seat, the party will take a decision,” he said. Talking about his sobriquet ‘Mama’, Chouhan said that the girls started to refer him as maternal uncle due to benefits derived by them because of ‘Ladli Lakshmi Yojna’, aimed at improvement in their educational and economic status. “Then boys started to call me ‘Mama’ because of cycles provided to them and schemes for them. Now, even the elderly call me ‘Mama’,” he said.