Is Madhya Pradesh chief minister feeling insecure?

  • Vijay Swaroop and Ranjan, Hindustan Times, Indore/Bhopal
  • Updated: Dec 03, 2014 00:03 IST

Is the fiasco over record number of bank accounts opened under Prime Minister Jan Dhan Scheme in the state, an attempted overdrive of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to get closer to Prime Minister Narendra Modi?

A known LK Advani camp follower, Chouhan’s government issued advertisements in national dailies claiming to have opened more than 1.54 crore bank accounts under the scheme as against 58.23 lakh (as on November 26) displayed in the official website of the scheme.

The state government claims that all the remaining families in the state which didn’t have bank accounts had been covered under the scheme and the state has surpassed all other states in implementation of the scheme, the expose suggested that there are several people in the state who don’t have bank accounts and have not heard of the scheme at all.

Questions doing the rounds in the political circles are why is Chouhan doing so especially when he won kudos from the prime minister during the recently held global investors’ meet for his steps taken from improving irrigation, to increasing productivity to providing concessions to defence products? Is he feeling insecure? Some agree, quite a few disagree as well.

Certain leaders in the ruling party feel that the three-time MP chief minister, who has all along maintained an image of low-profile and development-friendly leader since taking over the command of the state in 2005, is finding it difficult to maintain that aura, with several controversies and scandals over the last few years virtually puncturing his claims of good governance.

Chouhan has been uncomfortable ever since his third term started as the Madhya Pradesh Professional Exam Board scam put him in a bad light. The scam is supposed to be one of the biggest scams in history of Madhya Pradesh which has seen a former cabinet colleague of Chouhan and another BJP leader being arrested among others by the STF.

The opposition attacked the CM and the entire state machinery pulled all stops to shield him. Chouhan had to explain his stand at different levels — before the RSS, the Prime Minister and the party.

What has caused further worry in Chouhan camp is his bete noire and his cabinet colleague Kailash Vijayvargiya’s growing proximity with the BJP national president Amit Shah. Vijayvargiya was given the charge of party affairs in Haryana for the recent assembly elections. Chouhan’s discomfiture increased further when Haryana results put Vijayvargiya in limelight.

During his visit a couple of month back to Bhopal Amit Shah underlined the organisation’s strength in its achievements rather than the CM’s at least on two occasions. Similarly, the new party affairs in-charge in the state Vinay Sahasrabuddhe who replaced Ananth Kumar, too has avoided showering praises on the CM’s leadership.

In the past too, he had found himself in a spot of worry after Congress started questioning his alleged ties with Bhopal-based builder Dilip Suryavanshi. If the changing political equations in the party at the national level made the Chouhan camp uncomfortable a number of communal incidents in the state of late have raised a question mark against his government’s efficiency in reining in the communal forces in the state.

“Chouhan is in a situation like Sachin Tendulkar having nervousness at 99. Chouhan is on the verge of breaking the record of Digvijay Singh’s tenure of 10 years in continuation. He has utterly failed in delivering on the good governance front. MPPEB scam has further dented his image. His camp is suspicious if the duo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah would allow him to complete his tenure”, said state Congress spokesperson JP Dhanopia.

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