By L S Herdenia
BHOPAL: While Prime Minister Narendra Modi was promoting to make Madhya Pradesh the third most developed state of the country, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan surprised everybody by saying “You will miss me when I am gone”. This statement is being interpreted as an announcement that he will not continue in the office after election and possibly before polls.
On his second visit to the state in 8 days last week, Modi inaugurated a range of new projects, from a multi-model logistics park in Indore to an eight lane expressway and new health centres in eight districts. He also gave homes to 2.6 lakh urban families in the state under PM Awas Yojana.
PM Modi said that during last nine years of his regime India has climbed from being the 10th largest economy of the world to the 5th largest. “But these people who are against development are trying to prove that nothing of the sort happened.” The PM said adding “It is my guarantee that in my next term, India will become one of the three largest economies of the world”.
“This also is giving stomach aches to people who are hungry for power”. The country gave six decades to those who are anti-development. Sixty years is no small time. If so much work could be done in nine years, then think how much work could have been achieved in six decades. They failed because of their incompetence” he said.
The Gwalior-Chambal region has 34 assembly seats. In 2018, BJP was routed here, managing to win only seven, while Congress got 26 and BSP won one seat.
“Gwalior-Chambal is becoming the land of opportunities” the PM said “But this was not the situation earlier. Leaders who have been in power for a long time are talking big today. But what is their track record? The youth and first time voters have seen only the BJP’s governments and a progressive Madhya Pradesh. But in rule of the previous governments injustice and oppression flourished in Gwalior-Chambal. The voice of Dalits and OBCs was never heard. People would take the law in their hands and travelling on the roads had become difficult” he said referring to the time when dacoits ruled the Chambal ravines.
The Prime Minister argued that the BJP state government worked very hard to develop this region. “We should not look behind now. For Madhya Pradesh the next five years are very important. There is a new airport in Gwalior, elevated roads, a thousand bed hospital, a modern railway station and one and after another new schools and colleges. The image of Gwalior is changing and we have to change the image of Madhya Pradesh. That is why a double engine government is necessary” he said.
“That is why today Madhya Pradesh has faith in the double-engine government. Double-engine government means double-development of Madhya Pradesh” he said. PM Modi said “From here our target is to take Madhya Pradesh to the top three states. And who can do this work? One vote as a responsible citizen can take Madhya Pradesh to that position. Your votes for the double engine government will take MP to that position” he appealed to the voters.
An emotional statement made by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan a month ahead of assembly elections has sparked a buzz in the already charged Madhya Pradesh politics.
“Aisa bhaiyya nahin milega, Jab mein chala jaunga, tab bahut yaad aaunga (You won’t get a brother like me. When I go away, you will miss me a lot)” Chouhan said at a rally in Ladkuia in his Budhni constituency.
“I don’t run a government, I run a family. I have changed the definition of politics”. He said asking the crowd “You saw Congress rule for years. Did they ever think of the people?”
Chouhan’s statement comes at a time when the BJP central leadership has fielded seven MPs – including Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Prahlad Patel – and general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya in the assembly polls. Some of them are being seen as a potential alternative to Chouhan for the CM’s post.
Popular as Mama or maternal uncle, Chouhan has been CM for over 16.5 years, and has been praised by the central leadership for transforming MP from a BIMARU state to a progressive one, but now he seems to be facing the biggest challenge of his political career. The question being asked is, why is the longest serving BJP chief minister making such an emotional appeal close to the polls? In 2008, 2013 and 2018, Chouhan was projected as the CM face of the party. But this time the perception is that the party is propping up several faces for the top post.
PCC chief Kamal Nath’s media adviser Piyush Babele tweeted “Shivrajji has announced his farewell”.
Asked about Chouhan’s statement, Vijayvargiya, who has been fielded from Indore-1 constituency said “If I go, then you will remember me also – that Kailashji used to be here and would scold us, but he was a good man. After someone goes away, it happens”. (IPA Service)