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Oppn wants power, no matter what the method, what the cost: Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh

All this talk and chatter of anti-incumbency is more a sentiment created by the angst and frustration of an opposition, Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh said in an interview to HT.

chhattisgarh elections 2018 Updated: Sep 16, 2018 07:56 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan TImes, New Delhi
Raman Singh,Chhattisgarh elections,Chhattisgarh chief minister
Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh said his government and legislative party have had a strong administrative, governance and legislative record.(Sanjeev Verma/HT File Photo)

Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh faces a tough challenge after three terms in office. In a written interview to Kumar Uttam, he talks of key issues in this election and his strategy. Edited excerpts:

You have been chief minister for three terms. Is there anti incumbency against your government?

All this talk and chatter of anti-incumbency is more a sentiment created by the angst and frustration of an opposition which is desperate to come to power, no matter what the method, no matter what the cost.

My government and legislative party have had a strong administrative, governance and legislative record. We have valued MSMEs (micro, small & medium enterprises) and large-scale industries equally and have overcome multiple challenges...

Our food security system not only provides food security but also nutritional security to about 6.5 million families. We have become a preferred investment destination and the RBI has declared Chhattisgarh as the best financially managed state.

We have brought a lot of schemes benefitting the tribals, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

We have also registered a remarkable fall in the MMR (maternal mortality rate) and IMR (infant mortality rate) but still my concern is to further check the problem of MMR, IMR and malnutrition and bring it down to the national average.

The Congress is planning an alliance with the BSP. How will this impact the BJP’s prospects?

The opposition works more for its own political benefit and if certain political forces were to ally or seek to come together before the election, it would be a marriage of desperation, self-serving ambition and one of convenience where the people are shortchanged and cheated. Although I believe that due to desperation and their own selfish objectives there is very little chance that the Congress will ally with the BSP or anyone else, but then who knows, what will happen. Politics, especially in India, is one of strange combinations.

At the same time, however, even if that were to happen, we have our own work, primarily the rapid strides of development achieved by policies, projects and schemes, undertaken by our administration not only in the last five years but also over a period of 15 years. This, I believe, will be the necessary fuel for the party to move and tide over all such hurdles.

Ajit Jogi has floated his own party (Janta Congress Chhattisgarh), which will be making its electoral debut in the upcoming election. What will be its impact?

Ajit Jogi was the first chief minister of Chhattisgarh. He ruled for three years and definitely has some impact on a few parts of the state.

Since he was associated with the Congress for more than 15 years, the adverse impact will be on the Congress party.

Critics of the BJP allege you have failed on job creation.

Chhattisgarh is the only state in the country to have provided the Right to Skill Development to every individual in the state aged between 14 and 45 years. This has helped 74,000 people secure jobs.

The overall average of unemployment in India has significantly decreased from the time BJP has come to power at the Centre.

Additionally, according to the most recent statistics, Chhattisgarh has the fifth lowest rate of unemployment in the country, making it an incredible feat to achieve for a state only 18 years young.

Chhattisgarh has a huge population of tribals. The indigenous population is demanding implementation of the forest rights act. Has the BJP government failed to protect the rights of tribals?

Absolutely not. I completely disagree with this notion as, contrary to it, our government has worked strenuously to empower the indigenous population of the state.

It has both brought in the required legislations as well as guidelines to operationalise forest rights, pertinent examples of which are the ‘van abaadi pattas’ allocated and the training for ‘laghu van upaj’ produce.

First Published: Sep 16, 2018 07:35 IST