It is with a negative poll strategy to damage the agenda of development that the UPA government has shrewdly cut coal supplies to the BJP-ruled states, ensuring that the power crises in these states looms large just before the general elections. And the common man of Madhya Pradesh is the worst-hit victim now.
The total thermal power capacity of Madhya Pradesh is more than 1500 megawatts. The sudden and surprising cut of coal supplies to this coal rich state have left it with coal supplies sufficient for only 320 megawatts. This leaves the state with almost 70 per cent less thermal power, not to mention the infrastructure and manpower losses incurred in the non productive thermal power units. Still bigger is the tragedy that the UPA government has suggested to the state to import coal from the international markets, that will incur the state unimaginable expense in import and transport costs. It was against this shallow coal politics of the UPA government that the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan decided to take to the road. After writing several letters and reminders to the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh against this discrimination, Shivraj took his inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi. In line with Gandhiji'sNamak Satyagrah, Shivraj took to Koyla Satyagrah. On the 21 February 2009, Shivraj Singh Chouhan started his Nyay Yatra from the BJP headquarters in Bhopal. Travelling through the towns of Mandideep, Abdullaganj, Hoshangabad and Itarsi, he addressed and upraised people of the unfair and anti Madhya Pradesh policies of the UPA regime. Walking the last two kilometres to the Western Coal Field Mines on foot, Shivraj covered a three and a half hour journey in more than thirty hours. Once in the mines, he along with his cabinet colleagues picked up coal, symbolically asserting their right on it. On his way, he addressed numerous gatherings and spoke at length of the UPA'sefforts to sabotage the state'sdevelopmental run.
This massive movement, however was to have little effect on the High offices in New Delhi, and Smt Gandhi through her ?trusted? leaders in Madhya Pradesh, kept underestimating the rising discontent in the masses after the Koyla Satyagrah. This further enraged Shivraj to bring the fight to New Delhi. On the 2 March 2009, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh along with all his ministers, members of legislative assembly and members of parliament from Madhya Pradesh walked on foot from Vijay Chowk to Rashtrapati bhawan, challenging the UPA in its very heartland. The delegation met the honourable President Smt. Pratibha Patil and updated her of the UPA'sirresponsible behaviour and negative agenda which may set a wrong example for others to follow. They requested the Honourable President to intervene in the matter and rescue the state of the artificial crisis that the Centre wants to impose on it.
The protest may be called Koyla Satyagrah, but the discrimination and the fight against it is much beyond coal. The UPA-led Central Government is yet to pay 75 per cent of the Rs 500 crores distributed to famine struck farmers in Madhya Pradesh, despite repeated reminders. The Centre has already cut the electricity supply to the state by 380 megawatts. The number of houses allotted to Madhya Pradesh under the All India Gandhi Kutir Yojna are far less than those allotted to Kerala, a state less than 10 times its size. What the Sonia-led UPA alliance fails to understand is that such shallow strategies have serious and long ranging impacts, much beyond winning or losing elections. They provide a tool for power hungry political parties to exploit and misuse the Centre'spowers against the states, thus constraining the centre state relations, and threatening the very roots of democracy they claim to serve.
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