Union Home Minister and prominent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Amit Shah evaded the question regarding the continuation of Shivraj Singh Chouhan as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister if the party secures victory in the upcoming Assembly polls later this year.
During a series of consecutive inquiries about the clarity on future leadership in the state, Shah mentioned that Chouhan currently holds the position of Chief Minister and emphasized that the party would collectively determine the matter. Speaking to reporters in the capital city of Bhopal, Shah’s remarks followed the release of the Madhya Pradesh government’s ‘report card’ spanning from 2003 to 2023. He asserted that the state had effectively shed the “BIMARU” (laggard) categorization during this period.
“Shivraj Ji is presently the Chief Minister, and the party is in election mode. The party will fulfill its responsibilities. My request to all of you [journalists] is to convey the accomplishments under the leadership of [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi Ji and Shivraj Ji to the public, setting the development agenda for the upcoming elections,” he stated. Shah spoke of the impending elections and Chouhan, who has held the position for over fifteen years.
Addressing other sensitive issues that have emerged in the context of the elections, Shah reiterated the party’s emphasis on development and dismissed former Chief Minister and Congress leader Digvijaya Singh’s claim that the MP government was planning to instigate violence similar to the incident in Haryana’s Nuh prior to the MP assembly elections, with the intention of polarizing voters.
Regarding the party’s governance record over the past two decades, Shah highlighted that the government had effectively delivered on development, attributing the “BIMARU” tag as a legacy of the Congress administration. He noted that in 2003, the people of the state made a historic decision by removing the government of a figure he referred to as “Mr. Bantadhar,” presumably indicating Digvijaya Singh.
“From 1950 to 2003, with the exception of a brief period of 6-7 years, the Congress governed Madhya Pradesh. Those Congress leaders who currently claim credit for the state’s development should provide an account of the progress achieved during their tenure,” he remarked.
Contrarily, he asserted that the 20-year tenure of the BJP government had been a prosperous era that lifted the state out of poverty. He highlighted that Madhya Pradesh’s per capita income surged from ₹11,700 to ₹1.40 lakh, showcasing the remarkable development achieved through the partnership of Modi Ji and Shivraj Ji. Within a decade, Prime Minister Modi successfully raised millions of people above the poverty line, thus earning recognition as a champion of the welfare of the disadvantaged.
Shah pointed out that Madhya Pradesh stood out in various aspects, including contributing 45% to the nation’s wheat exports, distributing over 3.62 crore Ayushman cards (government health scheme) to rank first in the country, and achieving the highest quality of rural roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. Additionally, the state had sanctioned cases worth ₹4,300 crore under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund Scheme, secured the second position in rural housing construction under the PM Awas Yojana, and maintained the top rank in the Swachhta (cleanliness) scheme for six consecutive years in Indore city.
Expressing optimism about the Assembly polls, Shah anticipated a sweeping victory for the party across the 29 Lok Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh during the upcoming general elections next year. Referring to the party’s near-complete victory in these seats, he expressed firm belief that “the remaining one seat Chhindwara, represented by former CM Kamal Nath’s son Nakul Nath]” would also be secured by the BJP with the support of the state’s residents.