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Chouhan completes 10 years as MP CM, breaks Digvijaya’s record

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Photo: A.M. Faruqui   | Photo Credit: A_M_Faruqui;A_M_Faruqui -

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday completed 10 years in office, becoming the first non-Congress chief minister to do so, even as his tenures saw challenges like the Vyapam scam and defeat in recently-held Lok Sabha bypoll.

With his two back-to-back terms, Mr. Chouhan broke the record of his predecessor and senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, who ruled the state for two consecutive years from 1993-2003.

The BJP has organised a celebration on Sunday to mark the completion of the period.

CM from 2005

The 56-year-old BJP leader was sworn-in as the state’s chief minister for the first time on November 29, 2005, after the tumultuous run of the BJP-government that came to power in 2003 which then waded through political turbulence by having two chief ministers in a short span of two years.

In 2003, Union Minister Uma Bharati led a surcharged poll campaign to dethrone the then chief minister Digvijaya Singh, who headed the state Congress government since 1993. Ms. Bharati remained at the top post from December 8, 2003 to August 22, 2004.

After that, Babulal Gaur became the chief minister of the state till November 29, 2005.

Though Mr. Digvijaya defeated Mr. Chouhan at the former’s princely state and home turf Raghogarh in 2003, the destiny had much more in store for Mr. Chouhan as in less than two years after that loss, he became the Chief Minister MP replacing Babulal Gaur, the present Home Minister of the state.

Mr. Gaur was forced to step down as Ms. Bharti, after getting released from Hubli jail in connection with a case of alleged insult to the national flag, demanded from the party that Mr. Gaur be removed and she should be made again the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, but in vain.

However, Mr. Chouhan then got an opportunity to become the chief minister for the first time in his political career of over one-and-a-half decade.

MLA in 1989-90

Mr. Chouhan first got elected as MLA in 1989-90 from Budhni Assembly seat and was later forced to contest the Lok Sabha polls from Vidisha against his wishes.

Since then he represented the Vidisha Lok Sabha seat for five consecutive terms till 2004.

Though he had served the party in a number of important positions, he never had any administrative experience till he became the chief minister in 2005.

Irregularities

Besides the Vyapam scam, the Opposition also tried to embroil him in a dumper scam, but he got a clean chit in it from the court.

Referring to the Vyapam scam, Mr. Chouhan said, “Though probe is going on in the case, we have tried to make a transparent system of admission and recruitment after we came to know that there was no system in place for the same.”

BJP also met with defeat in the recently-held Ratlam-Jhabua Lok Sabha bypoll.

Talking further of Vyapam, Mr. Chouhan said, “After that a total of six lakh candidates appeared in different exams conducted by Vyapam. We were confident that no wrongdoing will take place in it. Also, 3.55 lakh were selected through it. Only in 1,600 cases we found irregularities after the scam was exposed, which was just 0.01 per cent of the total.”

“I am sure that in other states there must be much more bigger irregularities than this,” he claimed.

Mr. Chouhan also said that he was completely shattered by the blast at Petlawad in Jhabua district in September this year that claimed more than 89 lives, and the 2013 Ratangarh stampede in Datia district in which 115 people died.

On the ruling BJP’s defeat in the Ratlam-Jhabua Lok Sabha seat bypoll recently, he sought to downplay it citing figures.

“There were a total of 21 bypolls in the state since I came to power and out of them we won 15-16 and lost 5-6. Victory and defeat are part of the electoral politics and people should look at it in that manner only,” he said.

Growth figures

The chief minister also cited various growth figures to highlight his achievements.

“In the initial term, I focused on building infrastructure, especially in the areas of road, power and water. Besides building quality roads, the state at present is generating 15,500 MW power. It has enhanced irrigation potential from 7.5 lakh hectares to 36 lakh hectare and raised food grain production from 166 lakh MT to 450 lakh MT per year,” Mr. Chouhan said.

However, Congress General Secretary and former chief minister Digvijaya Singh termed the growth story of Madhya Pradesh as based on “fictitious” figures.

“There is a well-known saying that those who sow a tree will not eat its fruit, and the same thing applies to Chouhan also. The projects that we have initiated, he is enjoying just its fruit only,” Mr. Singh told reporters on Saturday.

“The figures of enhanced food grain production are fudged by the state officials by clubbing it with PDS food grains and selling the produce of other states in Madhya Pradesh,” he alleged.


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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 12:00:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/shivraj-singh-chouhan-completes-10-years-as-mp-cm-breaks-digvijayas-record/article7929990.ece

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