Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, 56, is yet to come to terms with the embarrassing situation arising from the growing number of deaths related to Vyapam scam. Squarely blaming the media for the hype over the deaths and his beta noire Digvijaya Singh for his ‘lies’, Chouhan philosophically states, ‘This is a transient phase of life’ and that truth will emerge in a few days.
Excerpts from an exclusive interview with him at his official residence:
Do you think the STF investigation was going on in the right direction?
I have complete confidence in the high court-monitored STF investigation. I initiated the investigations and after that the high court started monitoring it, forming an SIT.
Don’t you think you had to agree for a CBI inquiry because of the public perception?
The public perception was created by media trial and Congress’ blame game after the unfortunate death of journalist Akshay Singh. There was suspicion in people’s mind. This is why we have decided to ask for a CBI probe. The governing class should be above suspicion.
Is it the media which is to blame for the perception?
I cannot blame the media. Media have to report what comes their way. They are doing their duty. I congratulate them.
If high court turns down request for CBI probe, would you go to the Supreme Court?
We will pray in the Supreme Court that there be a CBI investigation.
Watch: The A to Z of the Vyapam scam
Recently you said you were ready to face the consequences. Any comments?
I said this because in the manner in which media trial is going on. Shivraj Singh Chouhan is being put in the dock but I am the person who started the probe.
What do you mean by the word consequences?
It means an atmosphere being created that people are being murdered in Madhya Pradesh. This has hurt the prospects of the state, which has been growing at 10% a year. I want the CBI inquiry to bring to an end this perception.
Don’t you think the party should have been stood by you as it did with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj?
I have pride in my party; the party is standing behind me. There is no question of ‘no support’.
Your ministers are making irresponsible statements which must have caused embarrassment to you. Any comments?
My ministers have clarified. This is no embarrassment (for me).
What do you think of Digvijaya Singh’s statements?
Digvijaya Singh is like Vidushak. He is telling the people Madhya Pradesh has become dangerous.
Do you see any conspiracy to malign your image?
Yes, it’s conspiracy of the Congress because they know till I am here they cannot come to power.