Light drizzle followed by moderate to heavy showers brought temperature down in Ujjain on Monday.
But chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s aggressive stance and the tenor of his speech are bound to raise the political temperature of the state.
The difference in Chouhan’s body language was unmistakable.
When Chouhan had launched his first Jan Ashirvad Yatra from the same venue ahead of the 2008 assembly elections, he did it under the shadow of senior leaders like LK Advani.
He was less aggressive and had focused on the development work of his government to make an appeal to voters.
On Monday, Advani was conspicuous by his absence during the programme.
There was no sign of any other national leader on the dais.
Sushma Swaraj who was supposed to attend the event couldn’t turn up.
There was no mention of BJP central election campaign committee chairman Narendra Modi either in any leader’s speech.
The message from the dais was loud and clear as a host of state BJP leaders stood in rows to acknowledge Chouhan’s unchallenged leadership while greeting him.
In 2008 , while facing charges regarding purchase of dumpers in his wife’s name, Chouhan had shied away from the controversy.
He felt highly embarrassed when any journalist asked him a question on the dumper issue.
Whereas on Monday, Chouhan sought to turn the tables by leveling allegations against leader of Opposition in the state assembly Ajay Singh that the latter owned as many as 11 dumpers.
There was another marked change.
The CM’s wife Sadhna Singh who usually took a seat in the rear rows of the dais sat beside Chouhan in the front row. Even as the Opposition accuses the CM of skipping discussion on no- confidence motion in the recent monsoon session of the state assembly, Chouhan seems to be gearing up to respond to the Opposition on the issue.
He made his intention clear by questioning the Opposition’s moral rights in hurling accusations against his relatives.
He said the Opposition should first ask Sonia Gandhi about Robert Vadra’s properties.
Chouhan launched a frontal attack on the Opposition and hurled serious charges of corruption on them and the UPA government one after another.
The CM’s conduct was in sync with his recent words to the party leaders where he asked them to take on the Congress party aggressively.
While launching the Yatra, however, the CM made sure that the differences in the party do not snowball into a major crisis ahead of the elections.
It’s in this context that he made sure that almost all the party leaders were present on the dais.