Bhopal: The babble of campaigning petered out on Monday (November 26) leaving the voters in Madhya Pradesh confused, as the major political parties contesting the election had no issues to woo voters.
Even though the BJP is facing massive anti-incumbency, the Congress has failed to raise any major issue so as to throw the government out of power. The storm of Prime Minster Narendra Modi seems to have tapered off.
However, even though CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan spared no efforts in relating his success story by counting the number of welfare schemes he has launched in last 15 years, a reality check of what he has done in the last one and half decades of rule shows a different picture.
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Madhya Pradesh is an agriculture-dominated state with around 60 per cent of the state population comprising of farmers. The BJP-led state government has been claiming that they have made farming beneficial through various welfare schemes.
But, more than 18,000 farmers have committed suicide in the last 15 years according to the state government data, while six farmers fell prey to the bullets of police on June 6, 2017, demanding implementation of the Swaminathan Commission Report in Mandsaur. Crop prices are constantly crashing and major crops like garlic, onion, tomato and soyabean are being sold at Rs. 5 to 6/ kilogram in the government mandi (market).
Yet, the state government has managed to win the Krishi Karman Award five times in a row.
According to the state assembly data, in the last 15 years, the state government has only created 2.45 lakh jobs, of which more than 19,000 were in the government sector, while the rest were in the private sector.
Further, the Madhya Pradesh Employment Exchange data says that there are more than 23 lakh educated unemployed in the state. The data shows that in the last two years, there has been a 53 per cent rise in unemployment.
Thousands of posts in the police department, schools, colleges, and university have been vacant for years. Yet, the BJP is claiming that 50 lakh jobs will be created in the next five years.
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Despite corruption being one of the major issues, it failed to pick a pace in the election campaign. Starting from Vyapam, E-tendering, Bundelkhand drought-hit scam, Anganwadi, Narmada Scam, et al., the BJP-led government’s term has been riddled with scams galore.
The opposition – Congress – alleged that in the last 15 years of regime, the BJP government has been involved in more than 150 scams and it is a ‘government of scams’.
According to the National Crime Record Bureau data, there has been a 450 per cent jump in crimes against women. Rape, minor rape, kidnapping, molestation have become common at a rate that has never been seen before in the state.
Women police stations, Nirbhaya patrol vehicles, women helpline- a number of initiatives have been started but none of them have been effective in the prevention or reduction of the rising crimes against women.
According to the state finance department data, the state has a debt of Rs 1.86 lakh crore which translates into Rs. 23,454 for every citizen. In 2003, when the BJP came to power, the state had a debt of Rs. 35,000 crore. This means, in the last 15 years, there has been a five fold jump in the debt.
Besides, there are a number of important issues in which the state government has failed, such as school and higher education, investment, illegal mining, law and order, sharp decline in business, costly electricity, 39 per cent tax on petroleum and so on, but the politicians have been busy in furthering their communal agenda, just to divert the issue.
As a result, the last week of campaign was spinning around communal lines and personal attacks with the BJP’s fire brand campaigner, Prime Minister Narenda Modi addressing several rallies in the state with the campaign lines such as the Congress has been halting the Ram Temple verdict; only one family is making hue and cry over demonetisation because they have suffered not the country, or that the Congress has been dragging Modi’s parents into politics, etc.
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While Uttar Pradesh CM and poster boy of the BJP, Yogi Adityanath had been campaigning that this election will be between Congress’s Ali versus BJP’s Bajrangbali. This pattern had been previously been seen in Gujarat, where the BJP gave a slogan of ‘BJP’s RAM versus Congress’s HAJ’.
In addition to that, BJP Chief Amit Shah promised to shoo away the Rohingyas and illegal migrants if voted to power and cursed the Congress on countless events.
Above all, the BJP has deployed – like it did in Karnataka, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh – its motor-mouth spokesperson Sambit Patra in the state to raise issues of Hindutva and minority appeasement by the Congress. More so, the videos related to Ram Temple, old or new, and statements of Congress and BJP leaders over the issue were being circulated in social media and WhatsApp, aiming to hit the religious sentiments of voters.
Congress has not been any better than the BJP. From the very beginning, the Congress has tried to break the shackle of its image of being only a ‘party of minority’, promising to setup Gaushalas at every panchayat and reviving the mythical Ram Path Gaman route in the state where Lord Ram spent his time in exile.
Further, in one of the latest two videos of Kamal Nath, the Congress chief in MP has been spotted appealing to Muslim voters, “I will handle the RSS, but till then you have to bear the brunt and keep calm.” In the second video, Nath has been spotted saying, “If 90 per cent Muslim votes did not turn out in support of Congress, then we will lose the election.’
However, Congress distanced itself saying it was a doctored video made by the BJP IT cell just to defame Congress.
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