Away from political circles of Delhi, busy in tackling the issues of Naxalism and development, Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Dr Raman Singh is generally known for his sober and gentle image. At the entrance of CM office, a plate welcoming the guests with “you are most important person for us” reflect his different style of functioning and humility. Panchajanya editor Hitesh Shankar spoke to him in Raipur on his experience of Vikas Yatra conducted in the state, declaration of Shri Narendra Modi as Prime Ministerial candidate, and the model of development in Chhattisgarh. Excerpt:
UPA government, especially the Congress, considers that Food Security Bill is going to be a trump card in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, what is your take on this?
See, the perception of game changer and trump card shows their limited understanding. The reality in Chhattisgarh is much ahead in ideation and implementation of such schemes in the genuine interest of the masses. We did not limit to food security but extended it to nutrition security. We provide iodised salt free of cost and to ensure proteins we also provide cereals and pulses to the masses.
Recently you completed Vikas Yatra in the state. How was the experience?
It was very good. On an average 30 to 40 thousand people gathered at every place, at some places the crowd was more than 1 lakh. You can see (showing images of huge crowd from mobile), this looks like an ocean of people’s love.
Party has recently declared Shri Narendra Modi as Prime Ministerial candidate, what is your opinion on that?
There is a great enthusiasm among workers and general public. All over environment is favourable. This will definitely have a positive impact in coming elections.
Chhattisgarh is a complex state having massive Vanvasi population, remote areas and fast growing areas like Raipur, New Raipur. How do you perceive this challenge as a head of the state?
Actually, path is carved out only by facing such challenges. We have started livelihood colleges in the area of 60 acres each in Dantewada, Sarguja and Rajnandgaon. We have started many works of nurturing the skills and personality of youths for livelihood. I belive that a person with certain qualities and skills will never get diverted or beg for something. These livelihood colleges offer training and qualification certificates in more than 100 employability areas. This initiative has benefited people from all the 27 districts. This is not only issue of feeding but preparing them for life. We have made it a legal right now; this shows our commitment to this future oriented scheme for the masses. If 25 youths from any district apply under the scheme, then such requisition cannot be denied. Training them for employability is responsibility of the administration. Prime Minister of India has also appreciated and awarded the Dantewada model.
Any special focus on the Naxalite areas?
We look after everybody and work on problems from holistic perspective. We strive for providing opportunities to the children and youths of this region for betterment of life. “Chhoo Lo Assaman” (Touch the Sky) scheme is highly appreciated in Naxal areas. This is a unique initiative to create new opportunities for Vanvasi kids through education. These kids are carving out their place in IITs, NITs PMTs and CPMTs. We have trained 750 students (250 each) at Bastar, Dantewada and Balrampur.
And, what is the situation in the state? What are the preparations for the assembly elections?
People are very enthusiastic in favour of the BJP. Ours is a cadre based party. All leaders are visiting the state to encourage the workers. After breaking all records in corruption and inflation at the Centre, Congress is busy in infighting at the state level. The leaderless Congress in Chhattisgarh is facing the one-upmanship syndrome.