With barely two days left for the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh and poll surveys predicting a clear win for the BJP, state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Friday exuded confidence of scoring a hat-trick in the polls with a comfortable majority.
“I am totally confident that BJP will win the polls with a distinct margin and I am saying this not because of surveys, but because of the love and affection being showered on the BJP on the basis of its work in the last 10 years,” Mr. Chouhan told PTI in an interview, in between hopping from one rally to another in his helicopter.
Referring to poll surveys that have predicted a clear victory for the BJP, Mr. Chouhan said, “I don’t want to talk about the number of seats, but with the kind of support that is visible on the ground, I am sure that the BJP will come back to power with a huge majority.”
In 2008, the BJP had won 143 Assembly seats out of 230 in the state.
Criticising Congress for hitting him below the belt as the high decibel campaign featuring star campaigners reached its crescendo, Mr. Chouhan said Congress leaders are afraid of him. They know that unless they do not target him on a personal level or damage his reputation, they won’t be able to come back to power.
“Therefore, they stoop to the level of below standard politics... I regret that Congress has lowered its standard to such a level,” he remarked.
Mr. Chouhan and his wife Sadhna Singh recently sent a defamation notice to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party state unit chief, demanding Rs. 10 crore in damages, over an advertisement issued by Congress targeting his family.
When asked about Congress’ demand for a public debate on developmental issues as it considered all claims made by the BJP on the issue as “hollow”, Mr. Chouhan hit back by citing an example from a Union Ministry website.
“The Congress leaders must see what the Union Energy Ministry’s website is showing about the power situation in Madhya Pradesh and that would clear the entire situation on the matter,” he said, adding that their (Centre) own figures stated that the power situation in the state is much better than other states of the country.
“Besides, why they (Centre) keep on awarding Madhya Pradesh for its good performance in the last few years. For agriculture they have give us ‘Krishi-Karman’ award. The Centre has given us nearly 50 awards. But if you go by what Congress leaders are stating, then either these awards were wrongly given to us or the Congress leaders were not speaking the truth,” Mr. Chouhan said.
The chief minister said he does not consider Union Minister and Congress MP Assembly poll campaign committee chairman Jyotiraditya Scindia as any challenge in the state.
To a question on Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and his controversial statements during poll rallies, Mr. Chouhan said, “I am really disappointed after hearing him. I thought that he was a young man and in a position to do something. But he is totally confused.”
“If he really wanted to do something then he should have become a minister to deliver and show his mettle. But he doesn’t become that (minister) and just talks,” Mr. Chouhan said.
Referring to his (Mr. Chouhan) reported statement in Mhow that if state industries minister Kailash Vijaywargiya or any particular candidate does not win, then he won’t become the chief minister, Mr. Chouhan said what he actually meant was that in democracy it is the MLAs who elect their leader.
“So, if they lose polls then how will I become the Chief Minister?” he asked.