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Madhya Pradesh byelections | Congress govt. played tricks with the people, says Shivraj Singh Chouhan

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan with BJP MP Jyotiraditya Scindia. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Ahead of bypolls to 28 seats caused by the defection of Congress MLAs, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan believes supporters of Jyotiraditya Scindia who've been fielded by the BJP on 19 of the 28 seats have assimilated well into the party.

Madhya Pradesh is holding an election after two years to decide the fate of the government. In 2018, the Congress won. Has people's perception changed since then? How is your election strategy different this time?

The BJP is a party with a difference. Our strategy is very simple as we live among common people. Serving selflessly is our aim. We act together for the nation’s interest as a family. And it is not a party which is run by a single family.

People of Madhya Pradesh have already seen the Congress-led State where there was no talk of real development. Good governance measures of our party in the past 15 years speak for themselves and voters have shown faith in us. Whereas, the 15-month Congress government played tricks with people instead of keeping promises. Their own senior leaders were fed up with their misleading governance and corruption. They were unaware of the common man’s problems. I am sure the voter of Madhya Pradesh has been a keen observer and they know the difference between our governance and theirs. You will see their verdict soon.

How do you view Rajya Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia’s role in the byelection?

Mr. Scindia is a mass leader and a respected member of the BJP. He holds strong public support, and is working hard to make the BJP win the byelection.

Most seats are in the Gwalior-Chambal region, the Scindia stronghold. How did you reconcile your older, committed cadre and leaders with the Scindia supporters who were their political adversaries in the past but are now BJP candidates?

The BJP is a democratic organisation where leaders emerge through their own excellence, capabilities and hard work. It is a big family. New members of our party have very well assimilated into it and have a unanimous thought process with the other members. They are one now. Each member is a dedicated one who is looking forward to the upcoming election and the development of the State. We are confident the BJP will win.

How challenging has campaigning been during the COVID-19 pandemic? Do you believe political parties and leaders are not taking the threat posed by the disease seriously?

Yes, it is a challenging situation and it is not just about campaigning. The whole world is facing this threat and we have to learn to live with it by taking all precautions. As a public representative, I can’t stay away from common people for long and the same is the case with all other representatives too. Life needs to go on, but we should never forget to follow safety guidelines. I believe all political parties, leaders and members are well aware of the threat of COVID-19 and are following the safety measures while campaigning.

How will the three farmer sector Acts and the migrant workers' exodus during the lockdown affect the electoral outcome?

The Acts have been brought for the welfare of the farmers to create possibilities for them to earn a better price for their produce and raise income. Farmers are happy with the Acts. We have transferred more than ₹24,000 crore in their accounts under different initiatives in the past seven months despite the COVID-19 crisis. Whereas the Congress was raising a hue and cry about the availability of funds.

As for migrant workers, we have provided them with support from food until November to transportation and direct benefit transfer. Further, we created the ‘Rozgar Setu Portal’ wherein employers and skilled labour force could register themselves, and workers could be reached by an employer and they could get the desired work. Thousands of workers have benefited. We have also provided work under MGNREGA. We have taken these steps not in view of the election.

Defections from the Congress are still continuing, with the recent one of Damoh MLA Rahul Lodhi. What do you believe is the primary cause of this series?

They were very disappointed and fed up with the working style and ill practices of Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh. They saw a ray of hope and positivity in the BJP.

You announced a free COVID-19 vaccine for the poor on the day a free vaccine was promised to voters in Bihar. How will this impact elections both in Madhya Pradesh and Bihar?

Safeguarding the lives of the State’s people, to save them from COVID-19 is my primary responsibility as the Chief Minister. It has nothing to do with the election and politics. It is my duty and I shall certainly do it. Madhya Pradesh is performing well to combat the pandemic, be it the containment of the spread, providing facilities to people or the economic development of the State.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 9:01:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/madhya-pradesh-bypolls-madhya-pradesh-chief-minister-shivraj-singh-chouhan-interview/article32984886.ece

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