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Campaign trail: Shivraj Singh Chouhan is 'bhaiya' for locals in Jait

The CM has had a very humble origin and not only he is connected to the ground but has made his way to the top with great hardwork, he adds.

PTI Reported by: PTI Budhni Updated on: November 25, 2018 13:45 IST
Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan
Image Source : PTI/FILE

Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan

The world may know him by the moniker 'mama' but Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's ancestral village here is possibly the only place in the state where he is addressed as 'bhaiya' as locals remember his rise to power from a humble beginning.

About 86-kms from the state capital Bhopal, Jait is located on the banks of the Narmada and is connected to Chouhan's assembly constituency of Budhni via state highway No. 15.

A broad banked under-construction 3.5-km dust track from the main road, flanked by paddy fields, takes people to Chouhan's house, at the entrance of which is a big photograph of the CM depicting him with folded hands greeting visitors.

Hariom Yadav, a domestic help at the house, informs that the occupants of the house-- the CM's elder brother Narendra Singh, his wife and others are out in Budhni for campaign related work.

"But, they will be back by the evening," Yadav says as he offers tea in the courtyard of the two-storeyed house where an old portrait of Chouhan and his wife Sadhna Singh hangs.

"He (Chouhan) is bhaiya (elder brother) to us. This is the affectionate name this village addresses him with. The entire state may call him 'mama' but locals here hold a very special place for him and vice-versa," village elder 67-year-old Bhagwan Das told PTI.

This small village is known as the CM's home place and people from 'Jait' get together like one family whenever the elder brother visits, he said while supervising work at his under-construction home.

The tiny village has over 260 households and less than 2,000 voters.

"Bhaiya makes sure he comes home for the 'dooj' festival twice a year and locals take it upon themselves that they campaign for him during elections and cover nearby villages along with other members of the Chouhan family," says tailor Santosh Namdev, when asked why the village wore a deserted look.

This is harvesting season so few others are out in the fields, he adds.

Imrati Devi, while performing her daily ablutions at the banks of the Narmada River, says Chouhan has helped the people of his village during every crisis or trouble.

He (Chouhan) lived here during his early days and then moved out for his studies and work in politics. 'Bhaiya' has made sure that he is connected to every big or small development in the village, local Hari Singh Chouhan said.

The CM has had a very humble origin and not only he is connected to the ground but has made his way to the top with great hardwork, he adds.

The village has a panchayat, a public health centre and the roads are made of RCC (reinforced cement and concrete) and locals expect more development will reach the 'special village in Budhni' once 'bhaiya' wins another battle at the hustings.

While there is a school and small health centre in the village, villagers would wish to get more public amenities like toilets, community centre, a larger health centre with yet another victory of 'bhaiya', 28-year-old Vishnu Prasad said.

Chouhan had last visited the village to take the blessings of the Narmada River and his 'kul devta' temple (family deity) on November 5 before he filed his nomination from Budhni.

He was first elected as MLA in 1990 from the Budhni Assembly seat. This would be the fifth time he will be contesting from here.

An year after being elected an MLA in 1990, Chouhan was elected Member of Parliament when he won a bypoll from Vidisha constituency in 1991 after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee quit the seat.

He went on to win Vidisha LS seat in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004.

In 2005, against the backdrop of infighting among state BJP leaders, Chouhan took over as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and in 2006 contested from Budhni to get elected to the MP assembly. He beat Congress's Rajkumar Patel, a former minister, by a margin of 36,000 votes.

He won from the seat again in 2008 and 2013 assembly polls, defeating the Congress's Mahesh Singh Rajput and Mahendra Singh Chauhan by a margin of 41,000 and 84,000 votes respectively.

His family and his supporters have given the slogan of 'abki baar 1 lakh paar' this time to ensure victory for him by a margin of over a lakh votes. 

Main opposition party Congress has made the contest interesting by fielding Arun Yadav, former PCC President and an MP from nearby Khargone seat, from the seat. 

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