Mamaji 2.0 in Madhya Pradesh: How Shivraj Chouhan is Upgrading His Image from Sober to Steely

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Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s Jandarshan Yatra has supplied a glimpse into the brand new taskmaster avatar of the chief fondly known as ‘Mamaji’ within the state. From slamming officers, issuing warnings on incompetence to even suspending them publicly, Chouhan appears to be reinventing his genial picture.

The newest show of this no-nonsense perspective got here in Tikamgarh a few days in the past when Chouhan suspended three officers over complaints of corruption. At an occasion in Bhopal on Friday, he warned that officers must be able to face the music if they’re discovered missing of their duties.

This change has turn into extra pronounced in latest weeks however didn’t come in a single day. Chouhan has been reinventing himself as a extra severe chief since returning to energy in March 2020 after overthrowing the Kamal Nath authorities. His first problem was maintaining his flock united and guaranteed after Jyotiraditya Scindia jumped ship from the Congress with 22 MLAs in tow. In the bypolls that adopted, Chouhan led his celebration to victory on 19 seats and reached the bulk mark comfortably. During the campaigning, he had even promised voters that they’d see him in a brand new avatar within the new stint.

As step one in delivering on that promise, Chouhan, who was recognized to domesticate the corporate of bureaucrats in his earlier tenure, stored officers at arm’s size, apart from shut aide Iqbal Singh Bains who was appointed Chief Secretary.

During efficiency opinions, the CM didn’t shrink back from shuffling bureaucrats and suspending them in the event that they didn’t match as much as his requirements. Even senior officers like collectors, SPs and municipal commissioners haven’t been spared.

His speeches, too, are peppered with sharper phrases and replicate a more durable stance on crime, significantly on adulteration mafia. He has additionally made clear his intention of cracking down on mining mafia in Gwalior-Chambal area the place police and forest officers have been attacked to forcefully get well autos and mining gear seized by the administration.

Chouhan’s political picture, too, has undergone a change, extra aligned with Hindutva now to reflect his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Yogi Adityanath. His authorities introduced in a extra punitive ‘anti-love jihad’ laws in 2020. The CM additionally promised a legislation to punish stone-pelters after a bunch accumulating donations for the Ram Temple in Ayodhya was allegedly attacked in Ujjain.

His bent in direction of the Hindutva plank earned Chouhan a spot on the record of BJP’s star campaigners in Assam and West Bengal.

Chouhan has additionally stepped in when latest crimes towards Dalits hit the headlines. He had ordered stringent motion when a tribal man was dragged to demise in Neemunch and in Dewas when a Dalit household of 5 had been discovered murdered and buried in farmlands.

It’s anybody’s guess if the hardliner bent is a results of elevated strain from celebration excessive command at a time when it has swapped out three CMs or an effort to fulfill expectations from the RSS. The BJP, nevertheless, says Chouhan was at all times a troublesome taskmaster.

“Since he assumed office in 2005, he had been a blend of simplicity and sternness, and exhibited these virtues at appropriate occasions,” BJP state secretary Rajneesh Agrawal stated. He cited the instance of Chouhan eradicating then Chief Secretary Vijay Singh regardless of objections from numerous corners quickly after assuming workplace again then.

It, nevertheless, was evident that bureaucrats loved shut proximity to the CM throughout his first tenure. Speaking to News18.com, a senior bureaucrat stated that as an inexperienced CM, Chouhan relied closely on officers however has turn into extra impartial as his tenures progressed.

The opposition Congress sees Chouhan’s new avatar as one other gimmick “to hide his failures”. “No one can become a nayak (hero) after being khalnayak (villain) for 17 years,” Congress media cell deputy chairman Bhupendra Gupta stated. “When tried and tested ploys fail, you need to resort to new ones.”

He alleged that the CM and his administration is attempting to cover the failures of the federal government in the course of the second Covid-19 wave. “He could not stop medicines and hospital beds from being sold. There was acute shortage of oxygen and the administration remained insensitive all through forcing citizens to come out to the streets in pain distress,” he stated.

Senior political journalist Girija Shankar, nevertheless, says there may be nothing uncommon about Chouhan’s perspective. “Every leader has a style of connecting to the masses. This is what Chouhan has mastered over the years… Remember the ‘Maai ka Laal’ statement before 2018 elections. His recent form is only an extension of that. He hasn’t changed. You can say he has found his form,” Shankar stated.

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