Watching talking heads crunching numbers and TV channels running exit poll results, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Babulal Gaur tossed the TV remote away. The former chief minister told TV reporters who wanted his reaction to exit polls that he would rather speak to relatives and friends on phone to feel the pulse of voters in other states than rely on the idiot box.
With his unhindered views, Gaur has been flowing against the tide, and his own party the BJP. He had declared that the ruling BJP would lose five to six seats in the state. The octogenarian said this after last phase of polls in Madhya Pradesh on April 24, stunning Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and BJP state chief Narendra Tomar who were insisting the party would win all 29 seats.
No one dared reprimand the oldest MLA in the state who seems to have become a loose cannon since his daughter-in-law and Bhopal mayor Krishna Gaur was denied a party ticket.
His terse reply for playing psephologist was: “I waited till voting was over. My prediction can’t influence the outcome now.’’
No longer reluctant to speak his mind in public, even if it meant rubbing his party or ministerial colleagues the wrong way, Gaur was the most sought-after leader on TV channels in the run-up to polls, and for filling the vacuum after April 24.
Print media reporters sought quotes from the 83-year-old. TV caught him at breakfast, and print later in the day, both feeding off each other in following up on the import of his many statements. He once rebuked the CM for not consulting him on candidate selection and warned him “not to repeat the mistake.’’
TV crews lost count of the controversial remarks — any other leader would have faced the consequences — he made over the last 45 days.
Referring to Chouhan who had featured in some hoardings, Gaur had said no one should share campaign space with Narendra Modi and the lotus.
When the party showed the door to Jaswant Singh in Rajasthan, Gaur said he deserved honor and respect and when Sushma Swaraj talked of winning by a record margin of about 4 lakh, he said the margin would be much lower in 2014 than 2009.
Playing the contrarian to the hilt, he defended Congress leader Digvijaya Singh when he was at the receiving end of a hate campaign on social media after admitting to his relationship with a TV anchor. Gaur said such alliances were not uncommon among Thakurs and sang a yesteryear hit “Jab Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya.’’ to appreciate the AICC general secretary’s public admission of the relationship.
On Tuesday, he alleged some BJP leaders were involved in illegal mining in Morena, and like other political parties were putting pressure on police and administration to look the other way and release those caught. When TV reporters sought a reaction to Gaur’s interview to a newspaper, he reiterated the allegation and said “even local media was part of the nexus’’. Recalling an IPS officer’s death, he said he was crushed under the wheels of a tractor used in illegal mining.
The only other BJP leader who humoured the media after April 24 was minister Kailash Vijayvargiya, also active on Facebook and Twitter, by commenting on “national issues’’ like Robert Vadra, Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi.