Bonus season is here
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh spent most of December 2017 crisscrossing the state, clocking miles on the state authorities’s Beechcraft to attend tendu leaf bonus distribution programmes within the tribal areas. A brainchild of the late Arjun Singh, CM of the then united Madhya Pradesh, the
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh spent most of December 2017 crisscrossing the state, clocking miles on the state authorities’s Beechcraft to attend tendu leaf bonus distribution programmes within the tribal areas. A brainchild of the late Arjun Singh, CM of the then united Madhya Pradesh, the bonus on tendu leaf plucking-an vital financial exercise in Chhattisgarh for almost 1.three million tribal families-was seen as a political masterstroke again within the mid-1980s.
Singh, the longest serving BJP chief minister within the nation, is hoping the almost Rs 275 crore distributed as a bonus, the wage hike for tendu leaf pluckers-from Rs 1,800 to Rs 2,500 per customary bag-and a clutch of different schemes concentrating on the tribals, can be sport changers within the 2018 meeting elections for him. Whereas he speaks the language of growth and welfare on the conferences, Singh is acutely conscious that the BJP did not do too effectively within the tribal seats final time round and that he must win over this important constituency if he desires to efficiently defend this BJP citadel in central India.
So what’s Singh’s gameplan for this elections? “Growth is the central theme of my marketing campaign. Evaluate the statistics on key indices within the state between 2004 and 2017 and you will notice the large change,” he says.
He is obtained a degree, the numbers do are likely to flatter him. Within the 14 years he has been in energy, authorities faculties have elevated from about 20,000 to 60,000, medical faculties from two to 10, authorities universities from three to 13, faculties from 116 to 214, engineering faculties from 12 to 50. On the well being entrance, the toddler mortality fee (IMR) is down from 70/ 1,000 births to 41/1,000 whereas the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) has decreased from 379 per 100,000 deliveries to 221. Malnutrition continues to be excessive, however figures are down from 52 per cent to 30 whereas the whole variety of medical services has elevated from four,500 to about 6,000.
In infrastructure, the whole size of roads below the Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana has elevated from 1,072 kms in 2004 to 22,750 kms in 2017; the determine for all-weather roads is 36,000 kms, a rise of seven,000 kms in the identical interval. Energy technology has elevated from four,732 MW to 22,764 MW and common consumption has elevated from 525 models to 1,724 models. In the meantime, 97 per cent of the villages are actually electrified. On the farm entrance, zero curiosity loans can be found and there was a six-fold enhance in horticulture crops which now cowl about 7.25 lakh hectares within the state.
However even with these spectacular statistics, Singh, a veteran of many a political battle, realises it can take far more to win a fourth time period, even when the opposition Congress appears to be in disarray. The Congress would not have a ‘face’-so essential now in personality-based contests, with ex-CM Ajit Jogi having damaged away to kind his Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC).
The meeting elections have been cliffhangers proper from the maiden outing in 2003 (Chhattisgarh was fashioned in 2000) with a minuscule distinction in vote share-Zero.75 per cent in 2013-determining authorities formation every time. In 2013, the BJP gained solely 11 out of the 29 ST reserved seats. “The bonus distribution, electrification of hamlets and pucca roads have all been accomplished retaining in thoughts the tribal vote. The celebration wants it whether it is to win the November 2018 polls,” says a senior BJP chief.
However even all that is no assure that it’ll put up a superb present. Congress MLAs like Devati Karma, the widow of Mahendra Karma, the celebration chief killed within the 2013 Jeeram Ghati bloodbath, have been working exhausting and can put up a tricky battle. “The Congress nonetheless has the belief of the tribals in Chhattisgarh. The BJP will be unable to misguide them,” says ex-minister and Congress MLA Satyanarayan Sharma. Sarcastically, for a state that’s 32 per cent tribal, there are few massive tribal leaders in both the Congress or the BJP.
A key plank for the BJP would be the distribution of a paddy bonus, discontinued since 2014 when the NDA authorities took over on the Centre. Singh has had it restored from the Centre. Some 1.6 million farmers are anticipated to profit from the payout of Rs 300 further on the Rs 1,550 per quintal for paddy procured by the state. The Maoist risk additionally appears to be receding-the scenario is definitely higher than it was 5 years in the past. Singh will get some credit score on this, for giving the safety forces a free hand.
On the non-public entrance, the CM’s recognition stays intact, the comfortable, good man picture he has cultivated over time nonetheless working for him. ‘Bade papa’, as he’s recognized to youngsters throughout the state, shouldn’t be recognized to be vindictive and appears freed from the Machiavellian picture that tainted Ajit Jogi. He has additionally neutralised dissent throughout the celebration, with detractors like cupboard minister Brijmohan Agarwal reduce to measurement.
The ‘X’ issue within the 2018 polls can be Jogi and his JCC. The BJP feels that Jogi will eat into the normal vote of the Congress, nevertheless it will not be so clear-cut. Jogi has already introduced 11 candidates and is specializing in seats in central Chhattisgarh the place a lot of the Satnami community-diehard Jogi supporters-reside. Within the 2013 polls, the BJP gained 9 out of the 10 scheduled caste (SC) reserved seats within the state. These are additionally the seats the place the Satnami vote can affect the result. So if Jogi will get the Satnami vote, he could find yourself damaging the BJP because the final time the group had thrown in its lot with the BJP. Additionally, a bit of the higher caste Brahmin, Thakur and Vaishya vote-ranging from 7-10 per cent-may return to the Congress, a celebration they deserted when Jogi, as CM, made his tribal and SC push.
The BJP’s massive good points in 2013 got here from the city seats in Raipur, Durg and Raigarh. This time the celebration is prone to fall again on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s charisma to retain these seats. “The BJP will flip it right into a personality-based contest. To buck anti-incumbency, they are going to pitch PM Modi because the chief. I’ll reply with the Chhattisgarhi mahtari (mom) and her satisfaction situation,” says Jogi.
The youth is one other constituency on Singh’s radar. Practically three.2 million new voters are anticipated to be added to the 17 million in 2013. The CM is doling out smartphones to enchantment to them and increasing the community of ability growth centres. In actual fact, everyone seems to be eyeing the brand new voters. Jogi is responding along with his Chhattisgarhi satisfaction slogan, accusing the BJP authorities of promoting out to outsiders and denying native youth jobs.
The BSP additionally continues to be an element within the state. The celebration has constantly captured about 5 per cent of the vote share in previous elections. In a intently contested election, an alliance with the BSP-formal or informal-could profit the opposite alliance companion too.
In addition to anti-incumbency, Singh can be battling a notion of heading a corrupt authorities. The Congress has raised many points, together with the acquisition of an Agusta Westland helicopter and the Civil Provides Company rip-off, however they declare that the whole lot has been brushed below the carpet. Singh counters this, saying the Congress “has not been in a position to show something… there isn’t a proof with them”. The CM could deny the allegations, however the normal notion on the road is that nothing will get accomplished with out bribes. “It can injury the celebration in energy,” says a senior civil servant in Raipur.
One other matter that will hang-out the BJP is the state modification aimed toward diluting Part 165(6) of the land income code which might have enabled sale of land owned by tribals for public functions. The perceived anti-tribal transfer was met with vociferous protests by the Opposition and tribal teams alike and was lastly withdrawn.
The paperwork guidelines the roost in Chhattisgarh, one thing that irks the political class no finish. Ministers crib that elected representatives have little or no say within the operating of the state. “We have now requested ministers to spend two nights within the districts below their cost each month. This can soothe ruffled feathers among the many celebration staff who’re feeling uncared for,” says a senior BJP functionary.
“Chhattisgarh would not have a Jignesh Mewani or Hardik Patel or a motion in opposition to the federal government that the Congress can capitalise on. This is a bonus for Singh,” says senior journalist Girija Shankar. “Nonetheless, the Congress has deep roots within the state. It would not take very lengthy for it to get again into the sport.” Chhattisgarh, with a two-way battle, the shut victory margins of the previous and now an unknown amount in Jogi’s JCC, stays a psephologist’s nightmare.