Bhopal/Lucknow: Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and BJP vice-president Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday asserted that his party is not dislodging anyone but it cannot do anything if the state government “falls due to infighting” within the Congress.
Ruling out the possibility of BJP forcing a mid-term poll in the Congress-ruled state, Mr Chauhan said, “Now, if the Congress (government) falls due to infighting in the party, then we cannot do anything. We are not dislodging anyone, but whatever is going on there (in MP) is not good.”
The former MP chief minister was in Lucknow over the weekend to address district-level and regional-level heads of BJP’s membership drive.
The 15-year power drought ended for the Congress in Madhya Pradesh in 2017 when it defeated the saffron party in the Assembly poll.
The Congress has a wafer-thin majority in the MP Assembly. It has a strength of 114 in the 230-member House. Its government has survived on outside support of two BSP MLAs, the lone SP legislator and three Independents. An Independent has already been inducted in the state ministry. The BJP has 109 MLAS. Chief minister Kamal Nath has alleged that the BJP tried to offer money to Congress legislators to switch sides and bring down his government. Calling himself a “staunch supporter” of “One Nation, One Election”, Mr Chouhan said Lok Sabha polls should be held along with Assembly elections to various states so that “uninterrupted development” can take place.
“Continuous polls disrupt development and derail the country, as all political parties are engaged 24x7 in preparations for the next elections,” Mr Chauhan said.
He said, “In the interest of the country, the Lok Sabha polls should be held along with Assembly elections to various states so that uninterrupted development can take place for five years. When the focus of all the parties is on winning elections, there is no long-term planning for development.”
Asked whether “One Nation, One Election” will push the smaller parties to the brink of existential crisis, Mr Chauhan said, “See the case of Odisha, where Assembly elections were held along with the Lok Sabha elections. In the parliamentary elections, the BJP got more votes while in Assembly polls it was Naveen Patnaik and his BJD which got the thumbs-up from voters. They wanted Modiji as PM, and Naveen Patnaik as CM. People have become wise enough now.”
In August last year, the Law Commission had recommended holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies to save public money. In its draft recommendations, the commission had said simultaneous polls, with an exception of Jammu and Kashmir, would help the government of the day focus on “developmental activities rather than electioneering”.
It, however, cautioned that holding simultaneous elections was not possible within the existing framework of the Constitution.
When asked to comment on the events unfolding in West Bengal and governance by chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Mr Chauhan said, “She has lost her mental balance and has become very agitated. Modiji’s popularity definitely played an important role in BJP’s stupendous performance in the Lok Sabha polls in Bengal.”
The BJP won 18 Lok Sabha seats out of a total of 42 in Bengal, only four less than the Banerjee-led TMC’s tally of 22.