Madhya Pradesh minister dismisses Congress’ allegation of corruption in the BJP government.
Every time Madhya Pradesh minister Vishvas Sarang greets a woman voter in his Narela Assembly constituency in Bhopal, he addresses her as “Behan”. “Don’t forget”, he urges each one of them to step out in full force on 17 November and vote for his Bharatiya Janata Party in the Assembly election.
Highlighting the development work carried out by him in his constituency, Sarang dismisses the Congress’ allegation of corruption in the BJP government. “There is no corruption. The Congress has no answer to our government’s development model which is why it is trying to cook up a corruption issue,” said Sarang.
Though contesting for a fourth term as an MLA, 51-year-old Sarang shows the energy of a first-timer. Flanked by his teenaged daughter, he goes from door to door in his constituency to seek the “blessings” of voters, especially his “sisters”. In 2018, Sarang got 1,08,654 votes and beat his Congress challenger, Mahendra Singh Chouhan, who got only 85,503. The winning margin was 23,151. In the November 17 election, Sarang is pitted against Manoj Shukla of the Congress. While undertaking padyatra, Sarang stops at houses of his supporters, accepts garlands and also takes requests for development work in their colony. “I have full faith in our government’s development model. In my constituency, I have built roads, given water, improved drainage and served the people wholeheartedly,” he said. The three-time legislator has set up “Vishwas Vijay Vahini” – teams of local residents – to identify local issues and help him resolve them. He is also planning to encourage women self-help groups so that homemakers could earn by selling their products. For the youth, the minister plans to offer free coaching for competitive examinations.
Sarang, minister for Medical Education, Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation in Shivraj Singh Chouhan Cabinet and son of former Rajya Sabha MP Kailash Sarang, appears to be consciously trying to reach out to women as this section of voters is considered the most loyal by the ruling BJP. In Narela constituency, there are 1,68,475 women out of the total 3,49,472.
The BJP is betting big on the Ladli Behna scheme launched in June by the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government and under the enhanced payout, 1.25 crore women in the state would start getting Rs 1,250 per month from October and the amount would gradually be increased to Rs 3,000 per month. The outlay for the Ladli Behna scheme is around Rs 19,800 crore. Women voters constitute a key chunk of voters in 41 districts, out of the state’s total 52, where their population is higher than men. There are 18 Assembly seats in the states where the female population is higher than the male population. In all, there are 2.62 crore women voters in the state.