MP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had gone to great lengths to plan Wednesday’s Karyakarta Mahakumbh, the BJP’s grand convention in the state, meant to showcase the party as a united house before the assembly polls.
The sprawling Jamboree ground for venue, more than 700,000 party workers in attendance or so the BJP claimed, and giant cutouts of LK Advani, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Narendra Modi and Chouhan himself.
Anticipating the Modi factor, he had also taken extra care to leave his mark as the host. The front rows were lined with party workers holding Chouhan placards.
There were also people wearing Chouhan masks. And as one by one the speakers took to the stage he stepped in every now and then to discipline the crowd or to call upon them to raise chosen slogans, making it clear he owned the show.
However, when he got up to speak, just before Modi, the crowd, impatient to hear the Gujarat CM, did not spare him either.
Interrupted by pro-Modi chants, Chouhan spoke for 30 minutes, hailing Modi as India’s future PM and for the rest of the speech attacking the UPA government and speaking about his government’s achievements.
Chouhan might have been reticent in praising the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate, but the latter chose to do just the opposite. He showered praise on Chouhan’s work and leadership.
Referring to the Congress government in 1993-2003, Modi said it brought disaster to Madhya Pradesh. And he said it was under the leadership of Chouhan that the state witnessed development and was now all set to move forward and secure its place among the leading states in the country.
He said the Centre did not want a gate to be installed at the Sardar Sarovar project in Gujarat, for if that happened Madhya Pradesh would get 800 MW, free at that.
The Centre put hindrances in the way of every scheme in the state. It did not provide houses to the poor.
“The government in Madhya Pradesh is of the BJP but the Centre should understand that the people here belong to India,” he said.
Modi also urged the people to exercise caution at the time of voting. “Agar bhool ho gayi, chook ho gayi, dus saal se bhookhi party hai.
Madhya Pradesh ka haal behaal kar degi (If you commit any mistake at the time of polling the Congress, will spoil the atmosphere in the state),” he added.