Commerce and Industries Minister Babulal Gaur seems to be a tad unhappy with chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. His statements on the Ujjain incident and demand for funds for his pet Gokul Gram scheme as well as for his native village in Uttar Pradesh have not gone down well with the government and the BJP. In a free-wheeling interview with Ranjan, the minister talks on various issues at his residence. The excerpts:
Madhya Pradesh was awarded by India Today as the fastest moving state. Can you talk about your contribution to the state’s growth as a former chief minister?
The state was awarded for its achievement in the past three years. Everybody, whether party workers, MLAs or ministers, contributed to its growth. During my tenure as chief minister, I laid the foundation for inviting development projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore. I got enough support from Union ministers like Arjun Singh, Kamal Nath and P Chidmbaram.
Did Uma Bharati contribute to this development process?
Yes, she had her contributions.
Did Shivraj Singh Chouhan or State BJP leaders acknowledge your contribution after the award ceremony?
No. But I congratulated the chief minister.
Did it hurt you?
Not at all. I am least concerned about their acknowledgement. In fact, I am getting people’s congratulations.
During Digvijay Singh’s tenure as CM, the State got a number of awards at national and international level
but the election results were for all to see.
The awards were then sponsored by IAS officers. The present award is based on a survey by a reputed organisation.
What did drive you to demand funds for development of your native village in UP and for Gokul Gram scheme?
When I visited my native village in September-October last year, I announced Rs 50 lakh for its development. But within a month I had to quit the CM’ post. I requested the Shivraj Singh for funds. Now, it was just a reminder. Before the budget session, I requested the CM to continue the Gokul Gram scheme. But since MLAs are complaining that funds have not being released, I urged the CM, Panchayat Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Finance Minister Raghavji to release the funds.
What is the CM’s response to your requests?
He never said “no” to my requests.
On the government and administration’s handling of the Ujjain incident?
College campus elections are always sensitive. Police in particular should have taken adequate measures to avert such a situation. I would not like to comment on the government’s handling of the situation. But I admit we have had to face some problems and give explanations on the issue.
If you were the CM, what the action would you have taken?
The action that the government is taking now. You were conspicuous by your absence at the State-level women’s convention and Kisan Panchayat. The political grapevine has it that are having a strained relation with the CM.
Since the programmes did not concern my departments, I did not attend. I have to look after the affairs of my departments. I am having cordial relation with the CM.
Does Jagatpati Committee report still haunt you? Would you not like the
government to close the matter once for all?
There is no truth in the report, hence I am least bothered as to how the government takes the matter.
Would you like your daughter-in-law Krishna Gaur to contest Bada Malehra assembly by-poll?
I didn’t do any lobbying. In fact, Kaptan Singh Solanki, Jayant Malaiya, Ramkrishna Kusmaria and others suggested her name.
The CM’s wife Sadhna Singh’ name is doing the rounds as the prospective candidate for Vidisha Lok Sabha by-poll?
That’s welcome. She would win the election if fielded because Vidisha is the BJP’ forte.
Would you like to become CM again?
I think of today only, not tomorrow.