With the Opposition gunning for his scalp, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been trying to manage the political crisis that engulfed his state. Chouhan ordered CBI probe into the Vyapam case, to address the perception created against him following number of deaths of those associated with the case. The three-time chief minister, who will complete 10 years in office in November, claims to be the original whistleblower in the case. In an e-mail interview to Pratul Sharma, Chouhan says he now wants to shift focus back to governance issues.
Why order CBI probe now after you said that there is no need?
The STF was investigating the case under the direct monitoring of the High Court-appointed SIT in a commendable manner. Even the Hon’ble High Court had on two occasions and the Hon’ble Supreme Court on one occasion declined the pleas to transfer the investigation to the CBI, saying that the investigation was going on in the right direction. So, where was the question of my recommending for probe by any other agency? But recently after some deaths in Indore and Gwalior, the Congress sought to create an atmosphere by design that was bringing a bad name to Madhya Pradesh. It was gut-wrenching for me. It gave me sleepless nights. I didn’t want the scam to define Madhya Pradesh. So I decided to recommend a CBI probe.
You said you thought about the issue of the night before. What all went on in your mind when you took the decision? Did you consult anyone?
As I said earlier, I was pained by the attempts being made to sully the image of Madhya Pradesh. The Congress and others cavilled at the investigations of the STF. Even I was being nailed. I believe that in democracy, the government should be above suspicion. So I took the decision. I consulted nobody else and took the decision on my own.
What steps have you taken to address issues in Vyapam?
I have taken a number of measures to prevent recurrence of such scam in future. The entire structure of Vyapam is being revamped to insulate it from any outside influence or interference.
Has the scandal overshadowed the good works done by your government?
Not at all. The good work done by my government to transform the state from BIMARU to the fastest-growing state is quite perceptible and is being recognised in not only the country but even overseas. The people have full faith in us and that is why they have reposed their trust and confidence in us again and again in the elections.
How do you see the BJP prospects in the next elections?
The BJP would win even with greater margin in next elections.
What development work or steps can one expect from the state government in the coming days?
The tempo of development works would continue with redoubled vigour. It is my commitment and passion to see Madhya Pradesh go from strength to strength in all sectors of development. We would further boost the farm sector as well as industry besides pursuing with greater commitment the social sector initiatives for all-round development of all sections of society.
The Congress had first made allegations against Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje and now you. Do you see any conspiracy?
The Congress has been in deep frustration after the last Lok Sabha election debacle and the continuous electoral defeats in Assembly elections in various states. The party has no issue and is desperately trying to make issues out of non-issues.
Do you think your party president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi stands behind you in your endeavour?
I enjoy full support and blessing of both the Prime Minister and the party president. Entire party is behind me.
How do you intend to reply to the Congress politically in the coming days?
We hardly need to do anything; the sins the Congress has done would get it. The party has lost mass base and has no future.