Bhopal, Oct 1 (IANS): The ruling BJP is claiming vehemently that Madhya Pradesh has witnessed inclusive growth and has even shed the ‘BIMARU’ tag in the last two decades of its government, led by the incumbent Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. However, the party has not declared Chouhan as its chief ministerial face for the forthcoming Assembly elections.
Instead, the saffron party has said that it would contest the Assembly elections under collective leadership and Prime Minister Narendra Modi would lead the campaign. In fact, the party has coined the slogan “MP ke man Modi” for the campaign.
Interestingly, even if Chouhan has been sidelined, the BJP is banking the most on his flagship schemes, especially the ‘Ladli Behna Yojana’ that was launched ahead of the elections. In fact, party workers and leaders would not hesitate to say that it was the ‘Ladli Behna Yojana’ that brought the BJP back into the fight.
Some political observers call it the process of change of leadership in Madhya Pradesh, while some others believe that keeping Chouhan in the shadows could be the BJP’s strategy to counter the anti-incumbency factor.
However, political observers are unanimous in their view that Chouhan has been sidelined and it might be his last tenure as Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh.
A senior political analyst said the situation for Chouhan might get worse after the elections are over. “At present, the central leadership needs him at every step in Madhya Pradesh as there is no other leader who can match him in the context of close relations with the people. But, the situation may be very different once the elections are over,” the political analyst said.
Chouhan has strengthened his position in Madhya Pradesh mainly on two aspects – he has won the people through his flagship schemes and second – whoever challenged his position in the last two decades was sidelined in state politics, with Kailash Vijayvargiya and former state BJP president Prabhat Jha being perfect examples of this.
“For the last three decades, Chouhan did not allow the establishment of a second-rung leadership of the BJP in Madhya Pradesh, which is the main reason the central leadership has failed to find his replacement. But now the situation is different because he has changed a lot. Chouhan is not what he used to be earlier,” said senior journalist NK Singh.
Singh added that Shivraj’s rustic persona and arrogance caused losses in 2018, and from there his political opponents within the BJP found the opportunity to corner him. “Chouhan is not one to revolt against the party's decision, but he will wait for the right time to bounce back,” Singh added.
Political observers also believe that Chouhan established himself among the people because he understood the basic problems of those who were surviving with minimum resources, but on the other hand, he remained fully dependent on the bureaucracy, and that perhaps started creating a distance between him and the people.
Another main reason the people of Madhya Pradesh are fed up with Chouhan is because of his failure to create economic growth, bring industries and create job opportunities for the new generation of voters.