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Will indefinite fast help Shivraj Singh Chouhan regain lost ground post Mandsaur?

Madhya pradesh chief minister is holding an indefinite fast to restore peace after farmers’ agitation demanding better prices for their produce turned violent in the state, denting his image.

india Updated: Jun 11, 2017 16:35 IST
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Madhya Pradesh,Shivraj Singh Chouhan,Mandsaur
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is holding an indefinite fast to restore peace after farmers’ agitation demanding better prices for their produce turned violent in the state. (PTI File Photo )

Chanting of ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ reverberated the pandal erected for chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to observe his indefinite fast ‘until peace is restored” in Madhya Pradesh, as he came out of his make-shift room to occupy the dais on Saturday night.

Utmost care has been taken to ensure that the showpiece event organised to restore beleaguered Chouhan’s reputation, which got a beating following the death of five farmers in police firing in Mandsaur on June 6, does not go amiss.

Shivraj Singh is serving the state as chief minister since 2005.

Framed pictures of Mahatma Gandhi-- who turned fasting into a potent weapon to achieve a goal-- and BJP ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay occupied prominent place in the background not without a reason.

Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Thaver Chand Gehlot, BJP national vice-president Prabhat Jha, national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, Chouhan’s ministerial colleagues and several senior party leaders flanked the chief minister, befitting the occasion.

State BJP president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan took to microphone to announce how concerned the chief minister is about the farmers’ agitation turning violent in the state. It’s precisely why he is continuing the fast though there was no violence in the state throughout the day on Saturday, Singh told the gathering.

State BJP office-bearers, including Vijesh Lunawat and BD Shrma, were specifically tasked to see that arrangements at the fasting arena at BHEL’s Dussehra Maidan in Bhopal don’t look grandiose.

No vendor with eatables allowed in the vicinity by police personnel and BJP workers. Heavy police presence to regulate the traffic and ensure security arrangements at par with that of the CM’s house was the only giveaway about the significance of the event.

The pandal has two makeshift rooms at the rear end. One bedroom, and the other opening to a ‘drawing room’ for meeting people.

It is there, earlier in the day, the CM had law-and-order review meetings with chief secretary BP Singh, director general of police Rishi Kumar Shukla and his ministerial colleagues.

State BJP president also announced that the family members of the slain farmers came all the way from Mandsaur (about 375 kilometers north west of Bhopal) to request the CM to end his fast.

He also did not forget to remind the gathering how concerned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah were about chief minister’s health.

“The fast has its impact,” BJP worker Praveen Napit said, “There was no violence in the state on Saturday.”

Not everyone, though, was convinced. “Script has been written. It appears that the CM will end his fast on Sunday,” said a party worker.

Some even questioned the need for the “wasteful expenditure”, when the CM should actually be discharging his administrative duties to alleviate farmers plight from the state secretariat.

“Will this fast help Shivraj Singh Chouhan regain his lost ground?” was another question doing the rounds, as the CM retired for the night.

First Published: Jun 11, 2017 13:59 IST