Around 90 per cent of the residents of Jait, the native village of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, are living below the poverty line (BPL), the Congress claimed today.
The main opposition party claimed there has been a 27 per cent increase in BPL population in the BJP-ruled state between 2006 and 2016, citing figures from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-2017.
However, the BJP refuted the statements made by the Congress, calling them “an attempt to misguide the people”.
Addressing a press conference, two days ahead of the assembly polls, Randeep Singh Surjewala, in-charge of the AICC communications department, accused Mr Chouhan, who is seeking a fourth term in office, of making “misleading” statements about his government’s achievements.
“Mama has given the deceitful slogan ‘Swarnim se Samraddhi’ (from golden days to prosperity). But, 90 per cent people in Chouhan’s home village – Jait – are living below the poverty line. Out of 327 families of the village, 294 are living below poverty line, according to the government’s ‘Samagra’ portal,” he said.
Chief minister Chouhan, popularly known as ‘mama’ (maternal uncle), is a resident of Jait, which is part of the Budhni assembly seat in Sehore district. The BJP CM, who assumed the top post in 2005, is seeking a re-election from Budhni.
Asked about the Congress’ claims on poverty, BJP vice-president Prabhat Jha said Mr Surjewala was giving “false” data to “misguide” people and added he was not well versed with the situation in Madhya Pradesh.
When pointed out that Mr Surjewala had claimed he have taken data on Chouhan’s village from the government’s own portal, Jha said in contrary 90 per cent of people in Budhni were “prosperous”.
Quoting another report, Mr Surjewala said 2.34 crore people, which is 33 per cent of Madhya Pradesh’s population, are living in poverty as per the RBI’s Statistical Handbook-2017.
Moreover, the wealth index, presented on February 2 in the Lok Sabha, says only 15.8 per cent people of MP are under its purview, he said.
The Congress spokesman said the BJP government has failed to properly implement the Ladli Laxmi Yojana, its flagship scheme for girls that seeks to secure their educational and economic future.
Accusing the Chouhan government of curtailing the education budget, Surjewala claimed there was no electricity connection in 72 per cent of the schools in the state.
Besides, the number of schools having only one teacher went up to 19,132 in 2016-17 from 18,915 in 2015-16, the Congress spokesman said.
Mr Surjewala said though Chouhan claims to be a farmer’s son, he has never been to a ‘mandi’ (wholesale market of farm produce).
Highlighting the plight of farmers in the state, he said cultivators, especially in Mandsaur, are forced to sell their onion and garlic crops at just 50 paise per kilogram.
The Congress leader said Mr Chouhan’s claims about his government’s achievements are “misleading” and “hollow”.
Madhya Pradesh will vote on November 28 to elect a new 230-member Assembly. Counting of votes will be held on December 11.
The BJP is seeking a fourth straight term in office in the state, while the Congress is making a renewed bid to come back to power after 15 years.