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Shashidhar .S. Kapur

Political parties are supposed to have a vision about the state before the elections, particularly in their second innings. Thus summoning a special session one year down the second stint to chalk out a vision for the state made little sense. Besides, special sessions are called for extraordinary reasons or emergencies. Moreover, initially it was to be of three days duration with a focus on Agriculture; apparently, on the opposition’s demand it was extended to four days (11-14th May 2010) and made general purpose. Clearly, there was much more to it than meets the eye.

First things first – Why have a special session? My take is that the prime motive was to negate the undercurrent of dethroning Shivraj which is gathering strength due to various reasons .That the CM’s performance has been no great shakes is borne by bad statistics and an equally bad press. The situation has been made worse by erring and tainted ministers, many of whom have managed to return with the backing of the high command even against Shivraj’s wishes and hence are stronger vis-a-vis the CM. Adding to the woes are corrupt officers who are being exposed by the dozen . Ironically, the second innings which was supposed to be smoother for Shivraj has proved to be otherwise precisely for the above mentioned reasons. To be fair to him, any CM in Madhya Pradesh can make only a marginal difference what with only two major political parties, that too with only cosmetic differences on major politico- economic issues. A CM can do well only if he has a vision, a good team of ministers and a disciplined delivery machinery in the form of officers. Sadly, on all the three counts Shivraj fares badly. A secondary basis of calling the session was to use it as a diversionary tactic from the poor performance.

As to the timing, it has to be seen in the context of the changing equations within the party. With the new BJP president coming in and holding the first national convention in Indore, signal went around about the influence of Kailash Vijayvargiya. Add to it the impending return of Uma Bharti , the CM camp started feeling the heat. Since Shivraj himself has traditionally derived his sustenance from the proximity to the central leaders, with others aping the formula, the reactionary forces sprung into action. To nullify any credit that Kailash might have got from the Indore meet, old cases against him and his supporters were raked up; besides Shivraj went upto Gadkari and expressed his reservations about Uma Bharti’s return . Simultaneously plans were chalked out to carry out a major PR exercise in the name of a special session. The belief being that hype created will make it increasingly difficult for powers that be to dislodge the CM. Shivraj can take solace in the fact that he has scuttled any second in command and the new BJP president is relatively weak. Moreover, by having a paratrooper state BJP president he may buy temporary reprieve.

Coming to the content of the session – for most part, it was vague emotional sloganeering. However, for the sake of records, over 70 proposals have been shortlisted, the major ones were:

1. CM drinking water scheme – laudable if implemented; somehow enough importance is not given to providing safe drinking water which has the potential of preventing half the diseases. Andhra began a scheme under Rajshekhar Reddy to provide filtered water to every village – perhaps M. P. can have a look at it.

2 . An English medium school in every block – Its importance in the fast globalizing world cannot be overstated. The earlier it is implemented the better it is.

3. A child health and nutrition mission – it has come not a day too soon with the state reeling under malnutrition deaths

4. Infrastructure development of suburbs – this is indeed visionary provided it is taken up seriously.

5. Bar coded food coupon for Public service distribution- it could be one more step in the direction of improving the delivery mechanism provided the loopholes are thought over beforehand.


1. Shutting off Laghu Udhyog Nigam – Small scale industries need to be protected, promoted the government or Commission way and not as a Corporation.

2. Citizen charter to be given the legislative guarantee of Public services – Without legal backing the charter was defunct.


1. Sports & Mela authorities – the existing bodies are capable if they have the right policies. However, showering disproportionate money on National Hockey squads, while the state’s Vikram awardees rot is perplexing.

2. Hospital management institute – more than that the management of the existing hospitals needs to be improved.

3. Separate department for construction and maintenance of govt. buildings – Instead the PWD needs to be spruced up.

4. Having a master plan for every village – Master plan of cities need to be cleared first.

5. Two and four lane roads to headquarters – this has been aimed in the previous innings too.

6. Industrial corridors – having corridors doesn’t bring industries; Execute the signed MOU’s first.


1. Claiming to raise the GDP upto 9-10% (from the present claimed at 8 %) whereas in reality the existing rate is 4.8%.

2. Raise production to 5000 MW by 2013.- what about the present 9 hr power cuts in most villages.


1. While talking of raising the GDP, it gives no idea of how the rate of growth will be increased.

2. While talking of making Agriculture a profitable activity, it does not tell how.

3. From where would the funds come for these schemes?

4. Not talking of the demand supply gap of electricity by 2013.

Based on the above line, the opposition Congress Party questioned the validity of it all. In fact, it refused to called it a session and termed it a symposium instead. Besides, it reminded the govt. of the eleven point action plan suggested by Abdul Kalam four years ago It included increasing per capita from 14000/- to 50000 by 2010 ; HDI ranking from 12 to 5; total literacy before 2012; reducing poverty from 40% to near zero by 2016; empowering tribals with health care education & employment… they pointed out that the status on most of these counts was deflating. Furthermore, not having question hour gave no space to Congress’ points on the agenda. Among other things, the opposition wanted to raise the issue of tainted ministers and corrupt officers, increased crime against women, immerings of casteist incidences and failure of the delivery mechanism.

In any case, the litmus test for a CM’ s performance is benchmarked upon the performances of the predecessors and those of the contemporaries in other states. Is it better or worse? Certainly not the former. Even if it were otherwise, it is highly unlikely that the BJP would be returned to power the third time. Thus the bigwigs realise it could be the last chance to bask in glory f or a long time to come – Kailash Vijaywargiya , Sumitra Mahajan , Narendra Singh Tomar or for that matter even Prabhat Jha – to name a few.

As always too many resolutions were made in typical Shivraj style making their implementation very difficult. All in all, they appeared to be unrealistic and distorted. Perhaps if Chauhan had studied Maths too along with philosophy, his pronouncements would’ve made greater sense. To top it, opposition’s absence made the session meaningless. In sum, it has proved to be a bad idea badly executed. Rather than extending CM’s stay, it might hasten his exit instead.