Chhattisgarh CM's poll weapons for BJP: IPL, yatras, laptops

The two-time Chhattisgarh CM goes all out for clinching a third term


Dinesh Akula | May 17, 2013

IPL matches, laptops, tablets and yatras are the latest weapon for Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh to take on the opposition in the state and simultaneously lay a concrete road towards election which is scheduled next year.

A drive in Raipur – the state capital of Chhattisgarh – will give a glimpse of how desperately Singh is trying to prove his mettle to make a hat trick in the government. The two-time chief minister strongly believed that apart from other strategies combination of cricket and youth would help him achieve the history of becoming second chief minister of BJP to get a third term after Narendra Modi in Gujarat.

Sensing the pulse of youth and trp game of IPL matches – Singh wooed BCCI and Delhi Daredevils to give Raipur International stadium an oppurtunity to conduct the event. Two matches were enough for doctor-turned-politician Singh to paint the entire state with hoardings claiming achievement of putting Raipur and Chhattisgarh in international forum. The chief minister is seen wearing the entire cricket kit and and aiming for a hattrick. The publicity brainchild – CM’s close confidante and secretary Aman Singh was quick to encash the moment to project Singh as the messiah for youth.

Why IPL, Aman Singh explained – that even after the formation of the state many in the country confused Raipur with Ranchi. The IPL matches brought Raipur in international map overnight. The chief minister took deep interest in ensuring that IPL matches are held. The comments of cricket players on the hosting and ground was overwhelming and Mr Singh was quick to use those comments in publicising the government’s achievement through IPL event.

When IPL was scoring high for them in publicity – the government immediately launched its ambitious project of free laptop to over one-lakh students under the Chhattisgarh Yuva Sochna Kranti. Distribution process also started. And immediately hoardings where up in every nook and corner of the state to stake a claim on the government intention. The chief minister denies that things are done merely for publicity.

Raman Singh does not stop here. He comes out with more political tricks from his kitty. Aiming at the bull’s eye of assembly polls – he takes off a 6,000 km Vikas Yatra in the state.

Though BJP is strong enough in this part of the country – all thanks to internal fight and intense factional differences in the Congress Party – the chief minister doesn’t want to sit and take things lightly. He knows 10 years of anti incumbency factor can spoil his planning.

The chief minister has sensed that things would not be that easy for him despite a weak opposition. His government is hit with corruption allegations and his ministers have their own issues, which the chief minister cannot deny would play a villainous role in the crucial time. The uprooting of BJP in Karnataka pumped a sense of urgency for Singh and hence he is making a strong pitch for his government.

Congress taking a cue for his game plan – launched a parallel yatra. It is called Parivartan yatra.

The Congress yatra has almost all the important faction leaders of the state on board, in sharp contrast to the BJP bus, which has only Raman Singh as its passenger.

This difference in the two-team buses is a crucial one and has the potential of affecting the elections. The chief minister’s bus is not empty though. Raman Singh carries Rs 1,900 crore worth of cheques to be distributed to farmers as a bonus, laptops for college students, cycles for school going girls, sewing machines for mothers, farm equipment and a lot more.

However, Congress believes that they can strongly hit BJP government on corruption charges. Since one year, Raman Singh’s government has been under relentless attack by Congress on corruption charges. To a certain extent, it has managed to make a dent.

Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh and other senior leaders including former chief minister Ajit Jogi, Nand Kumar Patel and others have categorically charged that the CM has become arrogant and egoist with power. Dr Singh is shielding many corrupt ministers in his regime, a senior spokesman of PCC said.

Meanwhile, the wheels of both the yatras are moving with a pace. Scorching heat of Chhattisgarh is not keeping people from attending the yatras. BJP camp is claiming massive crowd in CM yatra while Congress is fast enough to add that they are all being towed by the local administration to show the number. ‘The real crowd is with Congress’, a senior Congress leader claimed.

At present the huge hoardings are shouting loud lauding the efforts of the chief minister while the opposition needs to work united and in arms to take on the mighty BJP chief minister who grew from no one in 2003 to BJP’s top leaders in the country in the span of 9 years.

Both the yatras will conclude next month. It will be a time to analyse who did what. The voters are maintaining tight lip over the developments and the only solace to the BJP government is that apart from media, officials and opposition – the real public is not singing a negative tune for now. IPL, laptops and tablets are the things in Chhattisgarh and will they convert votes of youth in favour of BJP is what will be observed and tracked.



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