Chouhan’s 2016 ‘mai ka lal’ comment could cost seats in MP, says senior BJP leader

Mandsaur: Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan should be blamed for his pro-caste comment on the reservation if Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) loses the Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls, said senior BJP leader Raghunandan Sharma as several exit polls predict that the Congress has an edge over BJP in the state.

“If the BJP wins, the credit will definitely go to the Chief Minister for his immense hard work, but if the opposite happens, then he should be the first take the blame on himself. Had the Chief Minister not made the pro-reservation ‘Mai Ka Laal’ statement during his speech in 2016, the BJP would have been in a position to win 10-15 more seats in the state,” Sharma told reporters.

Sharma was referring to Chouhan’s statement, which he made at an event organised by SC and ST government employees in Bhopal in 2016. “Koi mai ka lal aarakshan nahi khatam kar sakta (Nobody can end reservation),” Chouhan had said, stoking a controversy around amending the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Sharma, a former Rajya Sabha member, further asserted that he was confident that the BJP would win in the state with a clear majority until exit polls predicted mixed results.

“When someone holding such a high constitutional post makes his type of statement, it’s bound to cause electoral damage. People were upset with this,” Sharma added.

Meanwhile, Chouhan on Saturday asserted that he is confident of his party’s win in the assembly elections in the state.

“There cannot be a surveyor bigger than me, someone, who is among the people day in and day out. Therefore, I am saying this confidently that the Bharatiya Janata Party will form the government. This is important for everyone – poor, farmers, children and women,” Chouhan told reporters in Umaria.

Madhya Pradesh went to polls on November 28. Counting of votes will take place on December 11. Chouhan, who has been the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh since 2003, is eyeing for a fourth consecutive term.