Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his first visit to Madhya Pradesh since assuming office about four months ago, gave enough reasons to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to feel elated, but his certain remarks bemused even Chouhan's detractors.
Praising the state's growth in agriculture sector, Modi said he wanted to give a surprise to the gathering. "Perhaps, Shivraj ji also knew this but he didn't take advantage of the same. And if he took advantage, he didn't share it with me," he added.
Disclosing the surprise, the prime minister said Madhya Pradesh accounted for as much as 40% of the total organic produce in the country. Organic produce, he said, has a global market. Also, Sharbati wheat of Malwa region in the state has a great demand. Madhya Pradesh's soybean also carried much value, he said.
Modi suggested if value addition to the agriculture produce was done in Madhya Pradesh itself, the products could be sent to every part of the country with ease, the state's location (on the country's map) being its advantage.
He said the state being the second largest in area in the country had an invaluable asset of land with it. "Its population was also an asset. The fact remained that MP was bigger than many countries. Hence, manufacturing sector should be promoted in the state and priority be given to such units which could contribute to export," Modi said, lauding Chouhan’s determination in taking the state among the front runners.
"If the state has a good leadership, the policies are clean; if one's intentions are good, if the direction is clear, if one is determined to achieve one's goal, then a BIMARU state like Madhya Pradesh can also prosper. Shivraj ji has shown this," he said.
Talking of the state's eagerness in drawing maximum advantage from the central government schemes while citing instances, he said what he was saying was not from any piece of paper but "I look at each and every development in Madhya Pradesh minutely." "Keeping oneself abreast is a part of (one's) responsibility," he added.
Wishing not to be quoted, a BJP leader said PM's remarks that he kept an eye on developments in the state should serve a warning to Chouhan who had a weak central leadership till four months back. Now, if there is any corruption in the government machinery, it must have been noticed by Modi also, the leader said.