The Bharatiya Janata Party's intense campaign for the civic election in Madhya Pradesh has come to an end. The polls are scheduled on Wednesday. The main highlight of chief minister Shivraj Singh’s campaign for the civic election was his focus on concerns relating to women and youth.
For his campaign for both civic and panchayat elections, he has mentioned the fight against drug consumption and work for de-addiction and the security of women under the Samras panchayats as important issues. Chouhan recently reviewed the Naxal eradication campaign with senior police officials in the Balaghat district. He indicated that his government would go for recruiting local youth in the Hawk Force. He has given instructions for the recruitment of the local youth in the task force.
Some of the positions Chouhan’s took in recent poll campaigns indicate which points and factors he could expand on for his party’s campaign in the state assembly polls.
In all, there is a presence of the building of refreshed harmony with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s own focus on women and youth in governance, policy, culture and emotion during polls campaigns ahead of the big battle.
Position One: ‘Beti-friendly’ and ‘Drug Free’
For his campaign towards the Panchayat polls, Chouhan kept his focus on the pride factor connected with villages. Over all, his campaign for the Panchayat and civic polls is an amalgamation of cultural, social and development issues that involve the cultural and physical security, prosperity, and well-being of women and youth.
Among the initiatives at the village level, is the announcement of a special reward of Rs 2 lakh. It will be given to a drug-free village. Chouhan has called for making villages drug-free, making Panchayats ‘Beti Friendly’ and for ensuring the safety of women and daughters.
Position Two: ‘Women Representatives Will Be Record Holders in Governance’
In his public meetings and road shows, he addressed women as the powerful changemakers in governance. He has repeatedly mentioned the achievement of Indore setting a record in India in the field of cleanliness under the leadership of a woman mayor (BJP leader Malini Gaud). He reportedly added that for the first time in India, 50 percent reservation was made for women in the Panchayats in Madhya Pradesh itself.
Noteworthy, ahead of the assembly polls is Chouhan’s focus on the elected panchayat representatives in the village panchayats and their role. He has claimed that the elected panchayat representatives "will set new records in the service of the public and development of the village." Chouhan has called for making efforts towards ensuring an income of Rs 10 thousand per month for women through women self-help groups. The call for women-steered governance could build a big ‘calling’ for women in governance.
Position Three: Ladli Laxmis, The Empowered Girl Child
His governance in the area of education of the girl child bears a personal touch. Chouhan has said that Rs 25,000 would be provided to the Ladli Laxmis in two installments on admission at the college level.
The launch of Ladli Laxmi Yojana-2.0 saw Chouhan stressing on the improving sex ratio at birth in Madhya Pradesh since the launch of the Ladli Laxmi Yojana.
Chouhan recently dedicated a special digital app, the Ladli e-Samvad app, to bring a continuous dialogue with Ladlis when needed under a family called the "ladli parivar" to speak "with their mama". The linking of the Ladli Laxmis to the education portal through Samagra ID in order to smoothly track their educational status is one of the highlights in the gender aspect of governance.
Position Four: Using Relaunched Sambal Scheme To Attack Congress
In a big step ahead of the assembly polls, the re-launched Sambal scheme last week during his campaign was another issue that found place in BJP’s narrative. On relaunching the scheme by his own government, Chouhan attacked Kamal Nath. He alleged that former CM of Madhya Pradesh Kamal Nath “impeded” the benefits to underprivileged women under Sambal scheme during the Congress rule.
He alleged that Kamal Nath struck off the names of the poor: “gareebon ke naam kaate thhe", and that Kamal Nath snatched away the money meant for laddoos (source of nutrition for birthing mothers) for “gareeb women”.
He was talking about the scheme launched by his own government, then re-launched by his own government because it was 'hindered' by the other government. The government, in the re-launched Sambal scheme will provide Rs 4,000 to the women of the state falling under the scheme before the birth of their child and Rs 12,000 (Rs 16,000 in all) after the birth of a child.
Position Five: Task Force Focussed On Women and Child Care
In an important development, a task force constituted to bring down maternal and infant mortality rate in Madhya Pradesh handed over its final report to Chouhan last week. Governance in the state will play a role in the aspects mentioned in the report.
The Task force headed by Professor Shamika Ravi handed over a copy of the report to Chouhan. The report includes insights on improvement in care of infants and mothers, the role of nutrition, health data and its monitoring, health care and resources, expenditure and improvement in the health sector.
Chouhan has been drawing contrasts in governance in Madhya Pradesh pre- and post-2003. A report in the Pioneer mentions Chouhan stating how lives have improved for women and children in the state as a result of good governance.
He has mentioned how the campaign launched to make Anganwadis convenient is giving good results, particularly in Indore and Bhopal. He has also stressed on making the registration for various beneficiary-oriented schemes easier and more convenient.
Position Six: Localising Development And Ownership
Chouhan is compelling the people of the villages of Madhya Pradesh to think of development as an element of local pride via his celebration of the Gaurav Divas. He recently said that people of the village should assemble and decide on the plan for development. He has said that a Gram Sabha should be held every month. Making Amrit Sarovar and other water conservation structures in every village, is one more important intervention.
Position Seven: Lack Of Knowledge Of English? So What?
In Ujjain, Chouhan reportedly mentioned in a statement that he has not come to Ujjain empty handed. He made an announcement for a medical college where the local youth, who come with “strong intellect, but lagged behind because of lack of knowledge of English...” will get a chance to be at a medical college that will run studies in Hindi.
The campaign is a pointer to how these aspects could make it to a larger political agenda packed along with timely initiatives and issues of culture and celebration of culture of Madhya Pradesh.
Each of the positions points to how Chouhan is energising his party’s campaign work, his own governance position, in alignment with PM Modi’s own focus on development and emotion surrounding youth and women.
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