PTI Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
Nov 27, 2018, 05.52 PM
On the eve of Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls, the longest-serving chief minister of the state is unfazed by talk of anti-incumbency.
In an interview to PTI on Tuesday, Shivraj Singh Chouhan said pro-incumbency and not ant-incumbency, is at play in the central Indian state.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and BJP chief Amit Shah were among the leaders who addressed poll rallies in the state, where voting for all the 230 Assembly seats is scheduled Wednesday.
"What is at work here is pro-incumbency and not anti-incumbency," said the 59-year-old BJP leader, whose party has been in power in the state since 2003.
Chouhan exuded confidence that his party will win the election with a "comfortable majority".
"The difference this time around, compared to the 2008 and 2013 polls is that we drew more crowds, especially the poor, in our public meetings," he said.
Asked if demonetisation and GST will adversely affect the BJP in the state polls, Chouhan said they wont "come in way" of the party's victory. The two initiatives will prove to be a boon for the country in the long run, he said.
Calling Modi as "God's blessing to India", Chouhan said Gandhi has lowered the "standard" of campaigning. "Nobody doubts Modi jis honesty in the country. He is an honest and upright person," he added.
"Rahul wrongly targeted my son in the Panama Papers leaks and levelled baseless allegations against me," Chouhan said.
"He also called Modi ji a chor (thief) in the Rafale deal. He has stooped too low. This is unbecoming of a leader," he said, adding Gandhi has no political understanding."
The prime minister is the pride of the country and there should be decency while referring to him, Chouhan said.
The Congress chief raised Parliament (level) issues in Madhya Pradesh, he said. Nobody knows about them in rural parts of the state, he added.
Chouhan termed as a "bundle of lies" the claim by Randeep Singh Surjewala, in-charge of the AICC communications department, that a whopping 90 per cent residents of his native village Jait in his Budhni constituency are living below the poverty line.
"The Congress has lowered the standard of campaigning in Madhya Pradesh and this is very disturbing and unacceptable in a democracy," Chouhan said.
"The Congress even dragged Modi ji's parents in the elections. This is very bad and highly condemnable," he added.
He said the Congress' poll campaign portrayed Madhya Pradesh in a bad light, especially with regard to women.
Madhya Pradesh was the first state to bring in a law providing for capital punishment to those who rape girls below 12 years, he said. After this, trial courts awarded the death penalty to 15 rapists, he said, adding the High Court upheld the death sentence of a rapist.
Chouhan said his government's decision to launch a slew of welfare schemes has paid off. "We pulled Madhya Pradesh out of the 'BIMARU' tag by making it a developed state," he added.
The acronym BIMARU was coined to refer to the economic condition of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. In recent years, these states have reported progress on many human development indicators.
Calling Modi as "God's blessing to India", Chouhan said Gandhi has lowered the "standard" of campaigning.