A confident Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister is dismissive of his critics but is frank enough to admit that his government ought to have done more work in the area of education, health and industrialization of the state. In an exclusive interview to Zee Media’s Bharat Bhagya Vidhata, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, without being drawn into any comparison with Gujarat model, presented his own model of growth where welfare state is happily blended with industrial growth.
Zee Research Group/Delhi
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has set aside any speculation about him being in the race for the top slot. In a categorical assertion, he steered completely clear of the race while declaring himself to be “junior” not only to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi but also his party Chief Minister in Chhattisgarh.
“I am number three in the party and both Narendra Modi and Dr. Raman Singh are above me,” declared Chouhan. Did this mean he was not interested in a role outside his state? “I am born to serve the people of Madhya Pradesh. If I’ll be able to serve 7.5 crore people of the state then I will think that I have contributed something to the country”, he told Zee Media’s #bbv Bharat Bhagya Vidhata.
The young Chief Minister lavished equal praise on Modi and Dr. Singh stating that he was a big admirer of their work.
However, he was quick to shy away from any direct comparisons of work being done by various BJP Chief Ministers’. “Every state is different from other and so their priorities. Even neighboring states don’t share the same problems”, explained Chouhan. More so, he asserted, “I follow a BJP growth model. As priorities of every state are different so everyone works according to their needs.”
But in response to a direct question on his comparison with Modi as a leader, “Modi is a matchless (Adhbhut) personality and a towering leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Neither he nor do I make a comparison with each other.”
He did not mind his absence from the party Parliamentary board saying he was essentially focused on his state.
Presenting a business friendly face, Chouhan listed various initiatives taken to bring home industry in a big way. He said, “Agricultural growth rate, industrialization, GDP, electricity, size of budget and per capita which were almost dead issues earlier have now become talking points for Madhya Pradesh.”
He also told BBV that it is an achievement for the state that big IT companies like TCS and Infosys have come here. This, he said, had happened on the back of the double digit growth. Chouhan termed the growth as a “miracle” while arguing that his government was fast on road to rid the state of the BIMARU title.
Chouhan took the centre on the corruption issue when asked about rising corruption cases, especially in the state bureaucracy. “Unlike the Centre, we expose the corruption cases with a view to punish the guilty.” He cited the instance of his government having “empowered” the state Lokayukta to deal with corruption in an effective manner.
Defending the state’s rather dismal track-record in dealing with rising rape cases, he argued the numbers had grown because of transparency in registration of cases. As per the figures of National Crime Records Bureau for the year 2012, Madhya Pradesh continues to top the chart of rapes of women and children in country. He, however, admitted that every single rape in the state was indeed a blot.
On his prospects at the upcoming polls, he declared that the anti-incumbency factor would not hurt him or his party. “Indian politics has undergone a major change in recent past and now people only vote on the basis of development,” he added.
(The show to be aired tonight at 10 pm)