Bijli-Sadak-Paani (Power-Roads-Water) are the three key issues that led to the ouster of the 10-year Congress regime in Madhya Pradesh under Digvijay Singh in 2003.
Riding on these three elements in the life of common man and from industry to farming, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), not only toppled the Congress and came to power, but now under the leadership of its Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan is all set to make it for the third time.
There is bad news for the opposition Congress in Madhya Pradesh (MP), which by keeping an eye on the general elections in 2014, is trying to regain the lost ground this time through the ‘Rahul Gandhi formula’ and by keeping Shri Jyotiraditya Scindia at the forefront. The retail inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index has touched a double-digit of 10% and vegetable prices shot to 45.67% year-on-year in October – highlights the stress on household budget. It is bound to cast its evil shadow on the poll prospects of Congress in MP as well. The acceptability of the party among the masses has declined due to corruption and a series of scams in the UPA-II regime.
Prior to 2003, the roads and highways in MP were synonymous to potholes, craters and non-existent stretches. But, in a decade the BJP government managed to improve upon the infrastructure by constructing 90,000 kms of new roads, attained a total installed capacity of 3972 MW of electricity and increased the irrigated area from 7 lakh hectare in 2003 to 25 lakh hectare in 2013. As a result, the state achieved 18.91% agricultural growth, and received the Krishi Karman Award of the Central government for best performance in agricultural production in 2011-2012 from President Shri Pranab Mukherjee. “Our pledge is to make agriculture a profitable venture and our farmers should get the right price for their produce,” Shri Chouhan has said on many occasions on various platforms.
By building rural roads, the MP government reached out to the rural masses, and its popular schemes like Laadli Laxmi Yojna, Kanyadaan Yojna, Mukhyamantri Swarozgar Yojna (self-employment scheme) for rural youth etc helped Shri Chouhan win back the confidence of rural voters.
“We’ve tried to maintain a balance by addressing all sections and categories of our urban and rural population in MP, and also tried to address the problems and needs of barbers, washermen, women domestic helps, labourers, poor unmarried girls and others through our schemes. This has made the BJP acceptable among the masses across the social strata,” says state BJP president Shri Narendra Singh Tomar.
A CNN-IBN, The Week and the CSDS survey has mentioned that good governance and development, better roads and improved power supply are the top three reasons going in favour of Shri Chouhan. Even among first-time voters, he is the preferred choice.
Development plans executed at the ground-level and a positive indication given by various pre-poll surveys have infused enough confidence across the BJP rank and file to have trust on its present leadership under Shri Chouhan, and get united amid resentment within a section of party workers after the announcement of lists of contesting candidates.
“We’ve addressed the grievances and are also taking care to resolve it amicably. The resentment was obvious due to individual ambitions and growing aspirations, as the BJP is going to win for the third consecutive term in MP and would emerge a winner in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls,” remarked national vice president of BJP Shri Prabhat Jha.
The popular social welfare schemes in MP have benefitted the majority Hindus as well as the minorities. CM’s pet project Kanyadaan Yojna is the scheme that aims to solemnise the marriage of daughters, widows and deserted women belonging to economically weaker sections, at state’s expense. According to an official data, 1,60,977 mass marriages were solemnised under this scheme between 2006 and 2013.
“Not just Hindus, the Muslims equally get benefitted from the scheme, as Shri Chouhan has categorically instructed that a fair number of poor Muslim girls should also be included in the scheme,” a government official said.
Shri Chouhan is fondly called ‘Mama’ (maternal uncle) by the beneficiaries due to this special initiative.
The Congress regime virtually brought industrial investment to a halt, which Shivraj government has brought back on track and the state has received investments in infrastructure to information technology, from power to textiles.
Shri Scindia’s entry as the chief of MP’s election campaign committee raised hopes among the Congress workers, but only for a while. The ugly head of dissension and infighting resurfaced after the announcement of tickets. The party seems to have lost its connect with the grass-roots voters, and is apparently resorting to mud-slinging. A disgruntled section of the state Congress leadership has openly declared that “this election would be a lost case for Congress, however hard the party tries”. It has reportedly become a tough job for this age-old party to get booth-level workers in MP.
This is likely to go in favour of the BJP, as the India Today-ORG survey shows Shri Chouhan as the best CM (60%) for the third time in a row.
In a setback to the Congress, its Lok Sabha MP from Hoshangabad seat, Rao Uday Pratap Singh, resigned from the party and joined the ruling BJP along with some of his supporters on November 14. Pratap, who is considered close to senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Suresh Pachouri, had defeated state Forest Minister and five-time MP Sartaj Singh of BJP during the last Lok Sabha. The CM, who is reportedly influenced by Pratap’s style of functioning, has said that both would work together for the development of MP.