“It’s true we didn’t get the majority (in the elections), and if anyone is responsible for the defeat, it is Shivraj Singh Chouhan,” the BJP stalwart said.
Insulating the Central leadership, he said the Central government supported the state government and both governments implemented several pro-people schemes. “If despite that we lost it means the blame goes to me. Maybe I lacked something,’’ he said
In his first press conference after conceding defeat to the Congress, Chouhan said he congratulated Kamal Nath on his party’s performance in the election, after deciding not to stake claim to form the government. The outgoing chief minister had tendered his resignation earlier today.
Reminding the Congress of its promise to waive off farm loans within 10 days of coming to power, Chouhan said he hoped the new government would continue the welfare schemes initiated by his government. In the same breath, he also recalled that Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s warning that he would remove the CM if loan waiver promise was not implemented within the deadline.
Now in the opposition with 109 MLAs, Chouhan said the BJP is strong and responsible.
“Vipaksh bhi mazboot hai, humare paas 109 vidhayak hain. Mera kaam hai rachnaatmak sahyog, chowkidari karne ki zimmedaari humari hai (The opposition is strong too. We have 109 MLAs. My job is to give constructive support to the next government. It’s not our responsibility to be guardians), he said.
The Congress bagged 114 seats in the 230-member house in Madhya Pradesh, ahead of the BJP with 109 seats. Both parties fell short of the majority mark of 116, but the Congress emerged as the single-largest party, staking claim to form the government with the support of BSP and SP. However, the BJP edged ahead of the Congress in the vote share by a slender margin, bagging 41 per cent of the total votes polled, while the Congress got 40.9 per cent.
“In a democracy, the party with the highest number of votes forms the government. Even though the vote share was more with the BJP, the Congress got more votes, hence we did not stake the claim,” Chouhan said, adding that the party and its workers will continue serving the people of the state.
Recounting his party’s accomplishments in the 15 years, Chouhan thanked the people for allowing him and the party to serve them and said he is indebted to the state.
“The party put in efforts to work for the development and benefit of the people. I didn’t work as the Chief Minister, but as a member of this family,” he said. Though the BJP failed to retain the state, Chouhan won from the Budhni constituency by a large margin. Since 2003, he has never lost his bastion.
When asked what the next step is for the BJP, Chouhan said it will be in the Lok Sabha elections next year.