The reverse countdown for the Madhya Pradesh assembly elections has begun. The state is bound to hold elections in November 2023. Right before the assembly elections, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan started to tie the loose ends.
In a bid to ensure another victory for the party, the benevolent Mama has turned into a tough task master. He is seen taking tough action on errant public servants and ensuring last mile delivery of welfare schemes. That’s why it becomes imminent to note the journey of Shivraj Singh Chauhan in state politics that will be crucial to predict the results of the upcoming MP elections.
In his three long tenures as the Chief Minister of MP, Shivraj Singh Chouhan has earned the moniker of ‘Mama Ji’. He has a benevolent image among the masses. A CM who stands for the poor and the needy in times of crisis. However, off late, he is fast shedding this benevolent image. He has turned into a crusader against incompetence, negligence and wilful defiance of public service.
Recently, on 17th of September, he launched the Jan Seva Abhiyan. The aim of the Abhiyan is to facilitate the enrolment of beneficiaries under two dozen schemes and to plug loopholes in their delivery.
In public meetings, the CM is seen going all out against those civil servants and police officers who are accused of not delivering public welfare schemes on time. Evidently, he suspended the Dindori district supply officer (DSO) T. R. Ahirwar for failing to enrol 70,000 people under the Ujjwala scheme from January to September.
Later, on 25th of September, CM Chouhan suspended another DSO M. K. Tyagi at a Jan Seva Abhiyan event in Jhabua district.
Similar tough instances were witnessed in Chhindwara and Panna district. CM Chouhan warned the DM and the district health officer of failing to identify every eligible beneficiary for the Ayushman Bharat. The feisty CM didn’t spare Jhabua SP Arvind Tiwari whose video went viral. In the viral video, the SP purportedly abused polytechnic students.
Going into the election year, here is how the CM rose to prominence but has now gone past his prime.
Madhya Pradesh Politics – from Raja, Rajwadas to Mama and beyond
After Independence, political parties roped erstwhile princes as candidates for the central and state legislatures and appointed them as Ministers.
Political Scientist William L. Richter in his book titled ‘Princes in Indian politics’ highlighted the influence of princes and members of princely families on Indian polity. He noted that several princes competed for parliamentary and assembly seats since the time of first general elections in 1951-52. Notably, the highest princely candidates were in Orissa and Madhya Pradesh.
After Independence, the princely states of Central India came together to form Madhya Bharat. Later in 1956, Madhya Bharat was merged with the states of Vindhya Pradesh and Bhopal state to form Madhya Pradesh.
The royal families of Gwalior, Raghogarh, Khilchipur, Chhattarpur, Narsinghgarh dominated the state politics. Among the royals who still command prominence in state politics is Digvijay Singh. He was the heir of Balbhadra Singh – the 12th ruler of Raghogarh.
Digvijay Singh is the current head of the Raghogarh royal family. He served as the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh for two terms between 1993 and 2003. He rose to new highs in state politics and soon became invincible even without doing much work for the voters. All credits to his royal legacy and mental slavery under the royal highness.
Rise of Shivraj Singh Chouhan and debacle of Digvijay Singh
However, in 2003, Uma Bharti opened the doors of Madhya Pradesh for BJP. That year, the saffron party registered a massive majority in the assembly elections and she was appointed as the Chief Minister. But within a year of her rise, in 2004, she was forced to resign as CM. After her tussle with the party, she was expelled for allegedly indulging in anti-party activities.
Noteworthy thing is that, Digvijay Singh still held strong sway in the state politics. However, after the advent of Shivraj Singh Chouhan the royalty of Digvijay Singh was thrown to the dustbin.
After the Uma Bharti fiasco, Shivraj Singh Chouhan became the CM of the state in 2005. After that he never looked back. He has served a long stint in state politics and gradually eroded the political capital of Digvijay Singh and reduced it to ashes. The desperation of Digvijay Singh soon started reflecting in his deplorable statements and acts. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Royal Maharaj of Raghogarh lost his election to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur.
Ironically, Digvijay Singh wanted to frame Sadhvi in the false charges to build a case for the so-called Hindu terror. The defeat of Digvijay Singh was easier said than done. The credit for the debacle of Digvijay Singh from a former CM to an unelectable public representative goes to Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan has served as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, between 2005 and 2018. Further he holds the record as the state’s longest serving Chief Minister. Gradually with his development politics and reforms, he became the beloved Mama of the state.
In his three successive stints as Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan has MP registered one of the highest agricultural growth rates in the country and thus uplifting millions from poverty.
Further, he is known for his efficient execution skills. With almost two decades of governance, he has created states’ own welfare schemes as well as implemented the welfare schemes by the centre very efficiently. Indore and Bhopal became the symbol of MP’s resurgent economy.
His government is known for caring its citizens from life to death. The state transfers cash for childbirth, marriage, and pilgrimage for senior citizens.
Apart from that, he has put Madhya Pradesh on the track of development. Earlier, MP was among the BIMARU (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh) states.
With his three tenure he has pulled the state out of the league of most underdeveloped states of the country and has reduced Digvijay Singh to a political nobody.
However, it is an open secret that nothing lasts forever. Fatigue factors have started to wane in on the Chief Minister. It is said that either a person goes down a hero or rules long enough to be seen as a villain. The case in point happened with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar who disgraced the legacy, if any, by his constant urge to govern Bihar no matter the cost of that. So, it becomes imminent for the MP CM to realise that he has walked past his prime and takes a graceful exit before his fatigue starts eating his hard earned legacy.
This will provide a brilliant opportunity for the budding leaders of BJP to seize the opportunity and carve a niche for themselves.
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