• Follow Us



Shashidhar S. Kapur

Covid 1.0 has changed the dynamics of the state .Both its direction and speed have been impacted.Beginning with an oath taking under tumultous conditions followed by toughest ever cabinet formation in the state and subsequent murkiest portfolio allocation .There are substantial grey areas of constituionality and legality likely to be given a top spin in the election season..

Governance became a circus with every decision catering to polls-short term focus on a limited region.Adminstration seems to be a roller coaster with nobody sure whether he is coming or going.

To begin with ,thirty eight Mla’s were needed in Kamalnath Govt to circumvent the anti- defection law ; around the same is the number of disgruntled senior multiple term Mlas in BJP – those denied berth in Ministry may do harakiri-( Numerology anyone ?).A myth is being perpetrated that Scindia actually has the support of 38 ,the remaining would come in next batch.This defies logic –if he had 38 to begin with, they would’ve crossed over without resigning as anti-defection law would be neutralised for one third Mla’s. In Svivraj 4.0 it became a Game of 33 . To overwhelm the Scindia lobby – 16 of the defectors are his core supporters- as many organically BJP Mla’s are needed…That BJP seems OK with 28 is an indication that in their calculation not more than 13 Scindia supporters can win even in a best case scenario.Thus the game changed from 38 to 33.

Congress funders in the state were targetted ( Was S. Kumar’s of Maheshwar Project a target ?) ; J.Arora , Ahluvalia of KG cement ( Attacking Khatris? ); Diggy supporters ( Computer Baba ; Ramnivas Rawat’s college ?).

Resentment against the Supra CM – Scindia -f other BJP stalwarts was subliminal. Not involving his suppo rters in COVID Task Force ; Mendola not attending his press conference ; RSS not in viting his camp ministers etc.Resentment against Super Party/ RSS – Most likely among the Congress turncoats ( The feeling is mutual- RSS would try and get the uncomfortable ones defeated in by polls- if not sabotage then by being passive ).Chhindwara projects in cold storage ; Mining , Liquour policies back to square one.( Decentralised theft replacing centralized loot )

Media was systematically co- opted ; media control was extrapolated to media direction. Headline mangement was taken to the next level of story administration. Done by controlling advertisements and promoting cronies. Inititally , the charge of Makhan Lal University was given to commissioner DPR and later a hard core saffronite appointed without waiting till the bypolls.

Scindia was forced to assert himself to get them the same / better Departments for his camp lest the “inner conscience” of the defected ministers may awaken to cause damage. They have already lost face in not being able to serve people in the most critical phase… With every passing day ,resentment against them is growing. Social media is rife with it.Eg,When Kansana donated 1 lakh for COVID. Facebook got flooded with sarcastic comments including ones seeking a large heart in parting with some more funds of Scindia deal. That forced him to lodge an FIR.Every visit in the constituencies is being met with scorn. Even Shi vraj’s rallies are unattended.

With only one VS session of a single day before bypolls- that too adjourned halfway. It was entirely in the election mode – lot of posturing , walkouts than substance. BJP only wanted to pass the budget an comlete the technicality of holding a session within six months ; Congress wanted to hi ghlight COVID mismanagement but wasn’t allowed.

On the election front key planks which emerged were fifteen years versus fifteen months rule and Tikau versus Bikau. ( principled versus mercenary) Secondary one could be.Saving democracy v/s saving the state and COVID Performance / Misgovernance of Shivraj versus Stellar rule/ malgovernance of Kamalnath. The Face and Base – Chehra and Mohra – is Kamalnath and Digvijay for Congress ; Shivraj and Jyotiraditya for BJP ; tertiaryry planks range from promises for Gwalior – Chambal and Congress ditched by Scindia. Just as BJP has fielded all the defectors Congress too has used c rossovers mostly.

The tricky period has begun as monsoon retreats and CO VID 2.0 sets in . Farmers are beginning to realise the full import of changes in the earlier Mandi act by Shivraj compounded by .The Centre’s farm bills. The migrant l aborers have begun returning or are getting restive. Farmer suicides have commenced and firings could follow.

Around the State formation day onNovember 1 political equation would change post by polls (By Nov 10). Th ere is an outside chance of Kamalnath back as CM if Congress is able to keep BJP under 9 seats. Hop efully thereafter governance and political energy would be on corona – lives as well livelihood. The next station on timeline would b e the Republic day – By then COVID would in full blow in rural areas and agri economy would be hit .Citizen disempo werment on the pretext of Covid may not be possible. At the one year since CO VID mark livelihood mess may become messier than covid mess. Even tually , by the end o f first quarter term of fifteen months something would b reak.In its wo rst case scenario there could be mid term elections; else CM change if BJP; if Congress wins, then too mid term or PCC chief change or both are likely.ShivrajChouhan hasn’t come on a solid structure (of protests/ resistance)– it will crumble. Kamalnath govt. hadn’t come on a solid foundation (of movement /struggle ) – hence it couldn’t last ; if it tries to hang on by hook or crook –it’ll be lameduck after that- at l east for Shivraj.

Kamalnath is unlikely to take his foot off pedal. Leads the Mla’s/office bearers in raising issues / concerns and simultaneously serving people apolitically ,. If he can do that ,tide may turn. Hoisting the flag on next Independence day(2021) may be a realistic chance esp if mid term polls.

BJP could face a double whammy – it may lose the government a nd the party too would be in disarray. Interesting to watch groupism in BJP… Shivraj , Maharaj and Naaraz…Once the electoral battle of bypolls is done and dusted ,the internal politics will kick in …It’ll be worthwhile to see the reaction of various factions in the changed scenario- esp. those sidelined viz Rakesh Singh ( he was accommodated in the task force), Prabhat Jha ..Also interesting would be note the moves of various second rung leaders such as Faggan Singh Kulaste ( Will have a challenger in Bishulal Singh for tribal politics – esp after he became a minister); Ramesh Mendola ( Pre- existing tiff between him and Silavat will have consequences particularly after he was denied a ministerial berth).Also, accommodating others who’d lost out would be tricky viz. Umashankar Gupta( He was defeated due to his bureaucratic behaviour with party workers-bringing him back may send wrong signals) ,Sudarshan Gupta -if only he had shown such dynamism earlier in public service as in Operation Lotus , he may not have lost elections.Deepak Joshi Meeting Nadda (the fight of Bikau and Tikau reached Delhi – he has apologized since); Lal Singh Arya has been placated by elvating him as the national head of SC wing. The an ti- Shivraj grouping led by Raghunandan Sharma h as been quelled for now but will not back off after polls. Massive outflow of BJP karyakartas likely; sidelined leaders becoming inactive /silent Pokhrans.;

At some point , it may become from Scindia v/s all in Congress to Scindia(s) v/s all in BJP… as early as after the by polls around the first quarter of 2021 Positioning Family to be only suited for indirect / ceremonial posts;.. Leaders may have bowed under pressure from centre but only for now … One cannot be a Maharaaj and behave like a small time Sardar at the same time.

JAYAS would be attacked during Local Bodies’ election .That is where they cut theirCONGRESS has A struggle on hands at every front –VS, Streets, Mantralaya ,Sachivalaya, media , Social Media , Courts ,regulatory instituions– alongwith complementing/ supplementing Govt. relief efforts apolitically. The double dark / negative of coming thru backdoor both at the state as well local bodies may open the front doors wide for multiple Congress terms.

Economy which was dipping as it is , tanked after covid. Not only did the growth stop but the economic activity too came to a halt.Excessively harsh lock down alongwith least amount of direct support proved to be double whammy.The only way out was to provide relief “simultaneously” and in “ratio”. Announcing 4K p.a. to farmers as Samman Nidhi alongwith 6K announced by Union government as also 10K loan to hawkers simultaneously was a good step .However it was not in the correct ratio. In fact, there are limitations- even if Shivraj wanted to give more he couldn’t have done so for two reasons. First there are other BJP ruled states and similar demands will arise elsewhere; secondly an y thing greater than equal to Union go vernment’s share in a central populist scheme may not be appreciated by the party.Remember 100/- bonus scheme of Shivraj to farmers which was stopped by Modi soon after coming in? The excuse against even temporarty supplementary income ( not to speak about Universal Basic income) is that the beneficiaries may not spend it and there may not be a rise in demand – instead fiscal deficit would increase.To overcome that ,it has been suggested that Expendi ture coupons with a time limit be distributed –people will have to spend them or they would lapse.. If even that not accepted ,it’ll mean that government wishes to smoke people out of villages and farming besides make those staying back as labourers on their own farms.

Educational activities during the Pandemic highlighted the digital divide becoming a digital partition in the state. Students from poor families and little or no access to the online classes. Programmes could ‘ve been on TV / Doordarshan but it wasn’t done.

Pandemic became an excuse for the privatisation of healthcare. Firstly , the land requirement for hospitals and nursing homes was lowered and later many private hospitals were made covid care centres.Top l eaders- esp from BJP( including the CM ) became their bran ambassadors by opting them over government facilities for personal care.

Transparency and accountability in public activities took a hit. Covid was an excuse to cover up the Budget details , loans and borrowings etc. During this period prejudices against the poor, marginalised and the weak were exposed. Apathy towards poor migrant labourers was in full public view; supply of inedible rice to the tribals was discovered by a central committee; underweight grain sacks for the poor revealed the dark underbelly of officials. All in all, most trends of Madhya Pradesh in the Pandemic period are pointing south.

A state grows when it has some of the best practices – which MP doesn’t. When does it progress ? Only with a unique and /or special approach. Instead Madhya Pradesh has an oddball approach- longest time without a cabinet, least amount of testing etc. Development materialises when you have ever new programmes and reforms ; new schemes and vision catlyse growth. The Madhya Pradesh approach is regressive as most previous schemes have been revived and previous
teams have comeback ..Hence it is likely to develop but will not progress- others would grow faster.. It’ll remain Pichada (laggard/backward).

Even if Congress or BJP wins all 28 seats , the stability will only be temporary
and superficial. There would built in instability due to disgruntled insiders and external destablising forces of those with a sense of victimhood. Besides, stability without activity is trait of the dead. Hence a mid term poll is likely as well as desirable .The second near certainty is that this year and a quarter is the last innings of
Shivraj in state politics –that too subject to his winning at least 9 seats
from non-Scindia camp.Therafter, either Chauhan must give Vibhishan his Lanka after 15 months if he wants to be a Ram .Else ,not only would he fade away but even the party would sink- he runs the risk of being a Ravan.