This Week Madhya Pradesh: Compare and contrast
Compare and contrast
Ever since party president Nitin Gadkari came under criticism for mentioning Swami Vivekananda and Dawood Ibrahim in the same breath, the party has been seeking to make amends with other comparisons in the same mould. Gadkari has apologised but the comparison bug has since been passed on to BJP leaders in Bhopal, where he had made his comment. Cabinet minister Kailash Vijayvargiya drew a parallel between Lord Ram and Ravan and Lord Krishna and Kansa. State BJP chief compared Jawaharlal Nehru with Shivraj Singh Chouhan in a positive way, saying the first prime minister was as popular as Chacha as the chief minister is as Mama. It has been the last comparison that has upset the Congress. "Kaha Raja Bhoj aur kaha Gangu Teli," was the Opposition's retort by way of its own comparison.
At the recent Global Investors' Summit in Indore, it was Hindi that drew the maximum applause. A leading industrialist set the tone at the inaugural, choosing to speak only in Hindi and disregarding the fact that there were foreign visitors in the audience. While language was not an issue with Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who speaks in Hindi even on foreign soil, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj admitted she was prepared to speak in English but the thunderous response the industrialist's speech received forced her to change her mind. While most industrialists spoke in English, the industry minister and the chief secretary spoke in Hindi, though investors from abroad had no translation facility.
For the people
Power sector reforms can wait. When it comes to farmers, a very sensitive constituency in the state given that close to 67 per cent people are involved in agriculture, populism can't wait. To offset the impact of the recent hike in electricity bills, the government announced a subsidy of Rs 275 crore. This will take the total farmers' subsidy bill to Rs 2,200 crore from the existing Rs 1,925 crore. Talking of populism, the state cabinet also increased from 35 to 40 the upper age limit for direct recruitment in government service. For SC/ST/OBC members, the limit will now be 45. The exemption, however, will not extend to executive posts in the home (police), forest, excise and jail departments.