In the wake of growing clamour for the post of Prime Minister in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has ruled out that he was anywhere in the race.
Talking to Hindustan Times during his Jan Ashirwad Yatra in Manawar, Chouhan said for him the work of chief minister was more important than that of Prime Minister and it provided one “to be in direct touch with people”.
“Frankly speaking, a CM can work directly for the people while he has a broader work from handling internal to external security to framing economic policies. For me, Madhya Pradesh is like one large family and people’s expectations have increased. I need to address them,” he said when asked if the leaders of his generation should take over the reins of the country.
“At times, when I am moving, I come across people, listen to their problems and frame policies accordingly,” he said.
Chouhan, however, was quick to add that any decision with regard to national leadership will be taken by the party. “I want to work for MP which is a family for me,” he said. Sounding confident of a ‘thumping victory’ in the forthcoming assembly elections, Chouhan lauded the work of all legislators.
“Our MLAs are doing good work but the party will decide who is to be given ticket. The party has its own way to assess the winnability,” he said, ruling out any prediction of the number of seats the party is eyeing, “Assessing seats would not be wise.”
The chief minister said days were gone when one could win elections through ‘management fundas. One has to perform and showcase the development, which we have done,” he said.
Spelling out his priorities, Chouhan said even though the state has attained double-digit growth rate, the agriculture production has increased, the per capita income has more than tripled, a lot needed to be done.
“MP was so backward, more effort is needed. It gives satisfaction, but more is required,” he said.
With this aim in view, Chouhan said he wished to increase irrigated area further from 25,000 lakh hectare; more power, more connectivity to villages; making agriculture a profession of profit; creation of more jobs through industries and investment and giving facilities to the BPL families.
Peeved at personal attacks, Chouhan said these showed the frustration of Congress leaders.
“I did not cross limits but opposition has made the politics dirty. One needs to be shown a mirror,” he said on his recent attacks on Congress leaders.
Chouhan didn’t mince words in criticising the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre and said, “At times I wonder if there was a government worth a name there. Everybody seems to be singing his own tune.”
The chief minister continued: “The country needs a strong government. Tell me which policy is correct -- internal, foreign policy, Naxal -- there is no government worth name. On internal security, they failed. On Naxal issue some say do this, some suggest harsh steps, some prefer talk. There is no specific line of action. I respect the PM. But he seems helpless.”