Flying kisses, love you, from ‘mama’ to youths

Flying kisses, love you, from ‘mama’ to youths

Shivraj Singh Chouhan

Batting for a fourth term in office, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has launched a charm offensive to reach out to the youth.

Fondly called ‘mama’ (maternal uncle) across the state, Chouhan has been showering flying kisses as he drives past the crowd hopping from one rally venue to the other — clocking up to eight public meetings in a day.

The chief minister was scheduled to reach this locality on the fringes of Gwalior at about 7:00 pm on Tuesday but at 9.30 pm, there was still no sign of the lead speaker at the rally organised to seek voters support to re-elect BJP candidate Jaibhan Pavaiyya.

The ground adjacent to the Koteshwar Temple is full to the brim and people are standing on the roads and atop buildings waiting for Chouhan who is also chasing the 10.00 pm deadline for the end of the campaign.

As the chief minister’s cavalcade snakes through the crowd, Chouhan is seen sending flying kisses and acknowledging cries of "I love you" with "I love you too".

It’s 9.50 pm, and Chouhan hurriedly makes it to the stage and heads straight to the microphone. The next 10 minutes are spend on attacking the Congress, listing out his achievements and praising local legislator Pavaiyya for ensuring development of his constituency.

"Nowadays, Congress is seething with anger. ‘Congress ko ghussa aata hai’. Why, because Shivraj has built roads, worked to develop Gwalior into a Smart City, brought a new drinking water project to the city. But, the Congress is angry because the chair has eluded the raja, maharaja and udyogpati (businessman) for the past 15 years,” Chouhan said.

Chouhan’s talk of development received a muted response from the crowd, but his slogans of "Jai Shri Ram" and “Bharat Mata ki Jai" are lapped up and repeated with double the vigour.

The chief minister then dwelled on the direct rapport he has struck with numerous students by giving bicycles to girl students in school and smartphones to college students.

"Wherever I go, the kids throng me with cries of ‘Mama, Mama’. The bigger ones say ‘I love you’. I also respond by saying ‘I love you too’,” Chouhan said.

"Your ‘Mama’ has paid your fees, given you books. If girl students get more than 75% marks, your ‘mama’ will give you scooty to go to college,” Chouhan said.

The chief minister wound up with a stinging barb at former chief minister Digvijay Singh. “We have promised that no one will live in a hut. We will give you pucca houses by 2022. I have also waived electricity bills to the tune of Rs 6,000 crore. Are we jobless like Diggy? We will waive off electricity bills once again,” he said.

With one eye constantly on the watch, Chouhan breaks into a song to take a dig at the Congress. “Congress leaders are restless without power. ‘Ae kursi, tere bina bhi kya jeena… tere bina kuch kahi naa,” the chief minister said invoking the popular number from Amitabh Bachchan starrer ‘Mukkadar Ka Sikandar’.