Shivraj Singh Chouhan said PM Modi’s rallies and messages touched people. ‘Double-engine government has worked’. (Photo: PTI)
Shivraj Singh Chouhan had told News18 how he took care of this time to ‘puncture’ the two key promises made by Kamal Nath earlier this February that the Congress would give a monthly allowance of Rs 1,500 per month for women and an LPG gas cylinder at Rs 500
The ‘Ladli Behnas‘ have voted for Mamaji. In a remarkable turnaround from just a few months ago when few gave BJP a chance in Madhya Pradesh, the state is set to be painted saffron again with Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s key women scheme launched six months ago doing the trick and the BJP beating anti-incumbency for its 18-year-long reign in MP.
“‘MP ke Mann mein Modi hai, Modi ke mann mein MP hai‘. PM’s rallies and messages touched people. Double-engine government has worked. We implemented the Centre’s policies well. From ‘Ladli Laxmi’ to ‘Ladli Behna’, schemes have worked. Amit Shah’s strategy and JP Nadda’s guidance greatly helped us,” said Shivraj Singh Chouhan today.
He covered 165 constituencies in the last 15 days of the campaign, holding 10-12 rallies daily. If one counts his rallies since the start of the year, the number would cross 1,000, and makes it for a marathon campaign. He also gave emotive slogans such as ‘Mama chala jayega toh bahut yaad aayega‘ to cite how indispensable he was for the state.
Chouhan had said some 10 days ago that he took care of this time to “puncture” the two key promises made by Kamal Nath earlier this February that Congress would give a monthly allowance of Rs 1,500 per month for women and an LPG gas cylinder at Rs 500.
Chouhan launched his ‘Ladli Behna Yojana’ in June to directly send Rs 1,000 every month into the bank accounts of nearly 1.3 crore women in the state. Three months ago, he reduced the cylinder price to Rs 450. He also promised that if he comes to power again, the ‘Ladli Behna’ money would be gradually hiked to Rs 3,000 a month. This did the trick.
In the 2018 elections, Chouhan was not able to counter the big promise of the Congress that farm loans will be waived within 10 days of Congress coming to power in the state. Rahul Gandhi said from the stage that he would change the chief minister if that did not happen. “Farmers bought that promise and we could not counter it. But this time, I punctured all that Nath offered. We may have been in trouble if I had not done that,” Chouhan had told News18. Another factor that worked for the Congress in 2018 was the sweep by it in the Gwalior-Chambal region where it won 26 out of the 34 seats as people thought Jyotiraditya Scindia would be CM of the Congress. This time, Scindia was with BJP.
Women voters have backed the BJP in earlier state elections in Madhya Pradesh too due to the ‘Ladli Laxmi’ Scheme launched by Chouhan over a decade ago under which a girl child got nearly Rs 1.5 lakh from the government in various installments till she was 21. But this time, the women getting money directly into the bank accounts had even more impact and the scheme was able to penetrate deep into the rural areas. “35 lakh women beneficiaries of the Ladli Behna scheme, out of 1.3 crore, are Muslim women. Many of them have also voted for the BJP, which has been an added bonus,” a senior BJP leader told News18.
During its travels in MP, News18 found that the scheme had worked to empower the women, give them financial independence in a first. Many women had said they bought new sarees, house rations and clothes for their children from the money directly coming into the bank accounts. The top BJP leadership also threw their weight behind the scheme with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah saying in speeches that the Congress would stop the ‘Ladli Behna’ scheme if the Congress comes to power.
When Kamal Nath said he would bring his own scheme to give Rs 1,500 per month to women, Chouhan said he was send out Rs 1,250 per month to women and would raise it to Rs 3,000 soon.
Not projecting anyone as a Chief Ministerial candidate and putting up seven MPs in the contest also seems to have proved to be a masterstroke. This not only blunted the fatigue that the voters had for Chouhan who has been the CM for 18 years, but also gave a chance to the MPs to out-perform each other in their respective strongholds and not only win the ‘difficult’ seats but also influence other constituencies in the BJP’s favour. Many of these MPs like Narendra Singh Tomar, Prahlad Patel and Kailash Vijayvargiya are leading in their seats. The race for the CM face in the BJP camp is now wide open in Madhya Pradesh, but Chouhan is now putting up a strong case for another term ahead of the Lok Sabha polls as it is his Ladli Behna scheme that has delivered the state to the BJP.
This is also a victory for the strategy of Amit Shah and his trusted colleague Bhupender Yadav who camped in the state and sharpened the BJP’s organisational strength on the ground. “We will win close to 150 seats. We were never behind in the state,” Yadav had told News18 a month ago. The BJP’s decision to pitch the election on the face of Narendra Modi also proved to be a success as the PM’s popularity in Hindi heartland worked wonders for the party.
Madhya Pradesh has proven true the BJP’s poll slogan that ‘MP ke mann mein Modi hai’. Now, it is over to Modi and the BJP top leadership to decide who the next CM of Madhya Pradesh will be.
Aman SharmaAman Sharma, Executive Editor – National Affairs at CNN-News18, and Bureau Chief at News18 in Delhi, has over two decades of experience in covering th…Read More