Election season seems to be bringing out the worst in politicians and political parties in Madhya Pradesh.
Stones were thrown on CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s convoy when it passed through Churhat — the constituency of the Opposition leader, Ajay Singh. A slipper was also flung at Chouhan at a public meeting, where MP home minister Bhupendra Singh suggested there was a plot to kill the CM.
The same day, BJP MLA Uma Devi Khatik’s son threatened to shoot Congress campaign committee chairman and Guna MP Jyotiraditya Scindia if he had the ‘temerity’ to set foot in his mother’s constituency.
All through Madhya Pradesh’s history, Chief Ministers and Opposition leaders were known to be on very civil terms with each other.
In the 1960s, MP witnessed the first round of defection, and its first and last coalition government in the form of the SVD government led by Govind Narain Singh. Even though GN Singh had upstaged the all-powerful DP Mishra to become CM, there wasn’t any personal animosity between them.
The Opposition led by Vijayaraje Scindia accused DP Mishra of engineering the killing of the erstwhile Bastar Maharaj Praveer Chandra Bhanjdeo, but once the SVD government took over, supported by the Rajmata’s Jan Sangh, the accusations were not brought up again.
In the 1980s, Arjun Singh as CM was known to get along famously with Opposition leader Sunderlal Patwa.
They were similar in many ways.
Singh focused on a strong administration, of which Sunderlal Patwa was a votary.
They never lost an opportunity to attack each other politically, but had a friendly personal relationship.
CM Digvijaya Singh had a good working relationship with all opposition leaders, including Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The turning point was Uma Bharti’s arrival on the scene as CM in late 2003.
The sanyasin brought a new form of politics to MP, with vendetta as a central theme.
It is said that Bharti, hailing from the Bundelkhand region, nursed a particularly severe grudge against Thakur leaders.
It was known that as CM, Bharti had asked officials to find a link between Digvijaya Singh and any irregularity.
Loyal officers began to search through the files of the inter-corporate deposit loan scheme of the State Industrial Development Corporation, but couldn’t find anything on Digvijaya.
A few months after she had quit the BJP, and started her own party, Bharti was at the receiving end of an attack in Chhatarpur during a high stakes by-election at Bada Malehra.
In 2008, former BJP Minister Sunil Nayak was shot to death on the day of polling.
The ongoing 14th Vidhan Sabha will end on an acrimonious note too.
This is the first time that all the members of the House do not have a group photograph, usually taken on the last day of the last session.
The Congress refused to attend the photo session, stating that the House had been adjourned indefinitely to not allow a discussion on a no-confidence motion.
Speech has also become vitriolic in MP.
Morphed videos of political leaders thrashing rivals and parodied songs are regularly seen on social media.
While no one is able to put a finger on why this has happened, there are explanations offered for it.
The most commonly floated theory is of bad influence from across the border.
Politicians in MP often blame UP and its politics for all the ills plaguing public life in the state.
While the home minister spoke of a plot to kill CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan after the stone-pelting incident, it seems that, in an attempt to take political mileage, he was speaking in a political language close to elections.
If a plot existed, the police would not have merely booked nine people for the stone pelting, three of whom are local congress leaders.
The crux of the issue is that whoever indulges in stone pelting or threatens to kill someone does so because he has scant regard for the law. He is aware that there is not much that will be done against him.
Moreover, politicians have lost the moral leadership they enjoyed earlier.
Politicians have no one but themselves to blame for a state of affairs where laws are being flouted with impunity.
(Courtesy of Mail Today)