Out of power in the state since the last 14 years, the Congress is planning to highlight the "unfulfilled" promises of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, whom the party has termed as a "Ghoshnaveer" (a man of hollow promises).
The Congress’ victory in the recent Assembly bypolls in Madhya Pradesh has made the party upbeat and it has now decided to campaign aggressively against the ruling BJP in the state elections due later this year. Out of power in the state since the last 14 years, the Congress is planning to highlight the “unfulfilled” promises of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, whom the party has termed as a “Ghoshnaveer” (a man of hollow promises). However, the BJP claims Chouhan has always adopted a sensitive approach in formulating welfare schemes and that the people have trust in him which, it says, is evident from the Congress’ victory margin going down in the recent bypolls. MP Congress chief spokesman K K Mishra said, “During his over 12-year-long tenure, Chouhan made nearly 13,000 announcements, out of which about 9,500 have been unfulfilled. They are only on paper and therefore, we will project him as the ‘Ghoshnaveer’ to expose the BJP.”
Though the Congress won the bypolls to Kolaras and Mungaoli Assembly seats held last month, its victory margin was reduced considerably compared to the 2013 polls. In the Kolaras constituency in Shivpuri district, the Congress defeated the BJP by 8,086 votes. In 2013, its victory margin was 24,953 votes. In the Mungaoli seat in Ashok Nagar district, the Congress defeated the BJP by 2,124 votes. The Congress had won the seat by a margin of 20,765 votes in 2013.
Mishra said in 2013, hardly any top leader had campaigned in these areas, but in the recent bypolls, Chouhan and his entire cabinet camped there, but in vain. Chouhan announced a slew of measures for both the constituencies, but the Congress tried to deflate his claims by saying that when the BJP, despite being in power, had not done anything for the area in the last 13 to 14 years, it won’t do anything this time also.
Another Congress spokesman, Pankaj Chaturvedi, said during the forthcoming Assembly polls, his party will also point out the Chouhan government’s failure on the economic front, the state’s high malnutrition and infant mortality rate, and the crime graph, among others, to corner the BJP. “As per the MP’s economic survey recently released by the government, the state has more than 11 lakh registered unemployed youths and the ruling dispensation managed to provide jobs only to 450 people,” Chaturvedi claimed. “The state’s economic growth rate too has come down from 14 per cent to 7.8 per cent in the BJP’s tenure,” he said, adding that the Congress will highlight all these things during the campaign for the state Assembly polls.
However, the state BJP spokesman, Rajnish Agrawal, said the chief minister has always chalked out welfare schemes with “sensitivity”. He said the Chouhan government brought in popular schemes like the ‘Ladli Laxmi’ and the ‘Mukhyamantri Teerth Darshan Yojna’, worked for farmers’ welfare and also launched the ‘Bhavantar scheme’ to compensate farmers suffering crop losses due to the low market prices. “These schemes were emulated by other states also. Even the people of Mungaoli and Kolaras have reposed faith in the chief minister by narrowing the Congress’ victory margin. People are with him and trust him a lot,” Agrawal claimed.
In the run-up to the two by-elections, senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia had accused Chouhan of making “hollow promises” to people. The former Union minister had said during the Ater Assembly bypoll (in 2017), the chief minister made announced 300 sops while in Mungaoli and Kolaras, he made over 425 promises but nothing materialised on the ground. During the campaign for the bypolls, the Congress had tried to corner Chouhan by calling him a “Ghoshnaveer” for not fulfilling promises after winning an election. Earlier in run-up to the 2003 Assembly polls, the BJP had termed the then chief minister, Digvijay Singh, as “Mr Bantadhar” (spoiler) to cash-in on the failures of the Congress government. Meanwhile, Chaturvedi said the Congressmen and the people of the state want Scindia to be projected as the “party’s face” in the MP Assembly elections. But, the Congress leadership will take a final call on it, he added.