Bhopal: There have been 18 chief ministers in Madhya Pradesh starting from Ravishankar Shukla, who took office in November 1956. But Shivraj Singh Chouhan , who is celebrating the completion of 11 years as minister on Tuesday, has beaten every former chief minster, by becoming the longest serving CM of the state. Previously there have been four two-time chief ministers- Shyama Charan Shukla, Arjun Singh, Moti Lal Vohra and Sunder Lal Patwa-but no one has assumed the office thrice. It was last year on November 30 that Chouhan had equaled Congress leader Digvijaya Singh’s feat of being in the office for 10 years. HT spoke to former chief ministers of the state to know what they think about Chouhan’s 11 years.
Former CM Uma Bharti ( December 2003-August 2004): Sarkar mai ney banayee aur Shivraj ji use chala rahe hain. Aur who achha chala rahey hain Main shayad sarkar utney achha dang se nahe chala saktee, kyon ki muj mei dherya aur sehansheelta ka abhaav hai. (I formed the government and Shivraj ji is running it. He is running it in a good way. Perhaps I couldn’t have run the government in a proper way as I lack patience and tolerance.)
Former CM Babulal Gaur (August 2004-November 2005): First I want to say why just 11 years of CM. Why not 13 years of BJP? Why doesn’t the government talk of development initiatives started by me and Uma Bharti as well. Having said that I will say that there has been good development under Shivraj Singh Chouhan. He has focused on poverty alleviation, good roads and farmer welfare. But at the same time I must point out that big business houses still shy away from investing in the state in a major way. Also pace of the development should be faster; why there is so much delay in metro rail project.
Former CM Kailash Joshi (June 1977-January 1978): Shivraj is the first leader here who has won the elections three times in a row here as CM. He has started many good schemes like Ladli Laxmi , providing food grains to poor at subsidized rates, many other schemes for welfare of youth, children and farmers. I think his greatest achievement is his humility and openness to meet all sections of the society. One thing he must be cautious about is that he should not let bureaucracy dominate him; which happens with him sometimes.
Former CM Sunderlal Patwa (January 1980 to February 1980 and March 1990 to December 1992): There has been good development in the state under the leadership of Shivraj Singh Chouhan. When you ask me what he should focus on, I will just say that ‘Vikas ke Koyee seema nahe hotee (Development initiatives has no limit’ ”
Motilal Vora (March 1985 to February 1988 and January 1989 to December 1989): Shivraj Singh Chouhan keeps making high decibel speeches and announcements. But if you see the reality on the ground, you will realise how poorly the schemes have been implemented in the state. Due to this the pace of development has been sluggish. Besides, the Vyapam controversy under his regime has dented the image of Madhya Pradesh.