BHOPAL: A remark in a lighter vein by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today prompted the Congress to take digs at him on Twitter.
"I want to leave early, and this would give an opportunity, anyone can sit on the chair marked for 'Mananiya Mukhyamantri (the honourable chief minister)'," Chouhan said at a lecture organised by the state government's Anand Vibhag (Happiness Department) here.
Chouhan, who reached the venue late, said he had to leave early as he was scheduled to attend some programs in the Jhabua and Alirajpur districts.
As news channels reported his remark, Congress leaders were swift to take potshots at him on social media.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ajay Singh tweeted, "Either Shivraj Singh is going to be removed (from chief minister's post) or he has accepted the fact that abki bar-Congress sarkar (this time, it will be Congress government).
" Former state Congress chief Arun Yadav tweeted, "Due to his work, the Chief Minister has now started realizing that someone else is going to become chief minister.
Why did it take so much time to accept this fact, Mukhyamantri ji." Chouhan responded by tweeting: "Some friends got happy after joke about the chair reserved for me.
At least, my visiting Anand Vyakhyan (happiness lectures) became fruitful.
"However, the BJP took the matter a bit more seriously, and sought to scotch the speculation on social media that Chouhan's remark meant he could be replaced before the Assembly elections which are due this year.
BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya took to Twitter to issue a clarification.
"The news about the change of guard in state are baseless and rumours.
Next election would be contested under the leadership of Shivraj Singh Chouhan," he said.
The BJP government set up the Anand Vibhag in August 2016, inspired by a similar department in Bhutan.
The department had organised a `happiness lecture' by spiritual leader Swami Sukhbodhanand today.