Chouhan, the humble victor (Profile)December 8th, 2008 - 10:29 pm ICT by IANS
Bhopal, Dec 8 (IANS) No one would have expected that the soft and suave Shivraj Singh Chouhan would twice become the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh when he launched his political career by being elected president of Bhopal’s Model Higher Secondary School Students Union in 1975. He soon came into contact with the then Jana Sangh (now the Bharatiya Janata Party) and participated in the underground movement against the 1975-77 emergency. He was imprisoned in Bhopal Jail for some time.
Born on March 5, 1959, Chouhan replaced Babulal Gaur as the chief minister Nov 29, 2005. He was then a member of the 14th Lok Sabha, representing the Vidisha constituency.
With an image of a polite gentleman, the people did not believe that he could be involved in any sort of corruption when the Congress tried to implicate him in graft charges. And now, even his detractors privately admit that he single-handedly stewarded the party back to power.
But the humility that he is known for, a jubilant Chouhan said: “This is the victory of the people of Madhya Pradesh who recognised the government’s good work.”
When asked if he was sure to be made chief minister yet again, Chouhan smiled as though aware there was nobody else but still said: “I am a loyal worker of the party. Whatever assignment I am given, I implement it quietly.”
Singh, a gold medallist in M.A. (Philosophy) from Bhopal’s Barkatullah University, has his task cut out to improve the electricity, roads and water supply services in Madhya Pradesh and bring about improvement in the quality of life of people living below the poverty line.
He has been a five-time Member of Parliament, representing Vidisha in the Lok Sabha since 1991 till he was anointed chief minister. He contested and won from Budhni, in the state’s Sehore district.
During his early political career, he was also convener of the Akhil Bhartaiya Keshariya Vahini in 1991-92 and the BJP state general secretary 1992-1994.
When the BJP swept Madhya Pradesh in the Dec 2003 assembly elections, Chouhan had unsuccessfully contested against incumbent Chief Minister Digvijay Singh from Raghogarh.