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Waiver talk aided Congress, 2019 a different story: Shivraj Singh Chouhan

Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that farm loan waiver promise of Congress worked to an extent in the recent election but 2019 general election would be a different.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Dec 17, 2018, 10.16 AM IST
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Recent loss in election will not impact the 2019 results. Modi rules the hearts of the people and is a symbol of faith for them, said Chouhan.
The outgoing chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, conceded in an interview to Aman Sharma that the farm loan waiver promise of the Congress worked to an extent in the recent assembly election but said that the 2019 general election would be a different story as people would vote for the BJP on the basis of the work done by the Narendra Modi government at the Centre. Edited excerpts:

Why did the BJP lose the Madhya Pradesh polls?
We got more votes than the Congress but 109 seats. We are doing a complete analysis. I did a lot of work as CM but I feel mujh mein hi kahin kami reh gayi, poora nahin kar paaya (there was some shortcoming in me that I could not complete the job). I also feel that the loan waiver promise of the Congress worked to some extent on the ground, but not full impact or we would have been completely wiped out. We won three out of four seats in Mandsaur (lost one by just 300 votes) and all four seats in Neemuch. The seat in Mandsaur, in which the unfortunate incident of firing had happened in 2017, we won by about 10,000 votes.

Why didn’t the BJP promise a similar farm loan waiver? BJP promised one in UP and won
My belief was that the farmer wants full worth of his sweat and that he is not in favour of any khairat (dole). For that I started many schemes and the amount of money I put in the accounts of farmers is unparalleled in any other state. I believed our Mukhyamantri Krishak Samridhi Yojana for small farmers was far more beneficial for them. The total amount in loan waiver being promised by Congress now in one go – I would have given the double of it to farmers over next five years through various schemes. If Congress can now fulfil loan waiver promise, that Kamal Nath ji should see.

How is the loss in the state polls likely to impact the BJP in 2019 general election? Will you fight from your old seat, Vidisha?
This loss will not impact the 2019 results in Madhya Pradesh. Narendra Modi rules the hearts of the people and is a symbol of faith for them. I have done an analysis of the present assembly results too and by that, we have a lead on 17 out of the 29 Lok Sabha seats in MP – we will better that by a long way. My aim is to win all 29 seats and if not that, by all means repeat our performance of 2014 Lok Sabha election when we won 27 out of the 29 seats. The issues will be completely different in the 2019 election and based on the work done by Modi in the last five years. I will devote myself fully to the 2019 campaign in MP now and have no plans to move to the Centre. I need to remain among our workers and the public in MP as I feel this will help the party here. As for the Vidisha Lok Sabha seat on which Sushma Swaraj ji will not contest now, the party will decide whom to field.

Kamal Nath has said that your government left the state bankrupt…
This is completely wrong to say. Khazana bhara hua hai, bhandar bharpoor hai (the state exchequer is full of funds). I can debate on this anywhere. MP is a revenue surplus state. In fact, our economic condition is better than that of many other states. Never have we gone into overdraft like some other states – we are in fact leaving a surplus and not a deficit for the new government. On the point of loans taken by our state government, these are very much within the limits of percentage permitted to us by the Centre. The fiscal deficit limit was given to us to the extent of 3.5% of gross state domestic product (GSDP) given our good performance and we have always kept it below that level. We have left money for various schemes of MP government – for irrigation, roads, electricity and the new Sambhal Yojana started by us.

Do you think the BJP’s personal attacks on Congress leaders including Kamal Nath backfired?
This is an issue of analysis – many people are saying different things. But you must look at the kind of words being used by Congress president Rahul Gandhi for Prime Minister Modi – such kind of words have never been used by the BJP.

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