Madhya Pradesh election: This could be Rahul Gandhi’s biggest challenge in dethroning Shivraj Singh Chouhan

By: | Published: October 16, 2018 11:32 AM

Madhya Pradesh assembly election 2018: While Rahul Gandhi and Congress want to capitalise upon the talk of “change”, they are faced with Shivraj Singh Chouhan's popularity and credibility as a CM who rolled out schemes

MP POLLMadhya Pradesh assembly election 2018: Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been touring the state extensively raising these issues. 

Madhya Pradesh assembly election 2018: Having served as Chief Minister of the state since 2005, the anti-incumbency factor is bound to play on the minds of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Shivraj Singh Chouhan as he seeks his fourth consecutive term at the helm. The Congress party, which believes that it is witnessing a surge in popularity in the state, has been aggressively pitching issues concerning farmers and the agrarian society to corner the ruling dispensation.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been touring the state extensively raising these issues. The Mandsaur violence and the death of farmers last year has been the cornerstone of his party’s campaign in the state. And while the Congress believes that the high-pitched campaign against Chouhan will deliver positive results, ground reports may defy the Congress’ assessment.

While Rahul Gandhi and Congress want to capitalise upon the talk of “change”, they are faced with Chouhan’s popularity and credibility as a CM who rolled out schemes, irrespective of whether these are funded by the Centre or launched by the erstwhile UPA government in Delhi, reports The Indian Express.

Sample these. People say they have benefitted from a scheme that provides for cheap foodgrain of 5 kg per person. This was first instituted under the National Food Security law brought by the UPA in 2013. However, the Congress finds no mention about this among its voter base, reports IE. The Congress even fails to derive any credit for its flagship MGNREGA scheme.

Similarly, the rural roads scheme, which was launched by the NDA government under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and was taken forward by Congress, does not get attributed to the grand old party even by its own followers, according to the IE report.

Chouhan appears to be countering the call for change by the Congress with social welfare schemes launched by his government. According to a report by The Indian Express, BJP voters in Betul, Damon, Panna, Sagar, Seoni, Shajapur, Khandwa, Khargone, Rajgarh, Ratlam and Vidisha districts are discussing how these schemes have benefitted them and the opposition vote in these areas lacks a common stand.

A local told IE that people used to receive Rs 60,000 or Rs 80,000 for an inter-caste marriage during Rajiv Gandhi’s government. Now, under the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, they were getting Rs 2,00,000 for the same.

A hopeful Congress and its president Rahul Gandhi thus faces an uphill task in countering this popular sentiment. Moreover, the state government has launched a number of other schemes that have caught the imagination of voters at large. The government is “committed to ensuring the welfare and happiness of every single citizen’s life in the state,” it says on its official website, listing out some of the major schemes that it has implemented in the state.

Schemes like Lok Seva Guarantee Act, Ladli Laxmi Yojna, Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojna, Mukhyamantri Ki Panchayaten, On-line Samadhan, Beti Bachao Campaign, Mukhyamantri Teerth Darshan Scheme have found takers and are immensely popular, claims the state government.

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