Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday sought BJP leader Uma Bharti's blessings at her residence before leaving for Jabalpur to launch the ambitious women-centric financial scheme 'Ladli Behna Yojana' ahead of the Assembly polls.
Accompanied by state sangathan mantri Hitanand Sharma, Chief Minister Chouhan touched the feet of Uma Bharti, who is known as 'didi' in the political circles of Madhya Pradesh.While receiving a coconut wrapped in saffron colour cloth as 'sagun' on the auspicious occasion, Uma Bharti - who still enjoys a considerable hold among the women in the state -- was heard quipping 'Sabe Pehli Ladli Behna Mai" (I am the first Ladli Behna).
Bharti has the distinction of being the first woman Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, under whose leadership the saffron party had managed to end the ten-year rule Digvijaya Singh-led Congress government in 2003.
However, she had to leave the post and was succeeded by (late) Babulal Gaur and then Shivraj Singh Chouhan occupied the chair. Since then, the BJP has won two consecutive Assembly elections in 2008 and 2013.
In the 2018 elections, the Congress under the leadership of veteran leader and state unit president Kamal Nath managed to romp back to power after a gap of 15 years. However, a political crisis within led to the debacle of his government in 15 months and Chouhan returned to power with the help of Jyotiraditya Scindia in March 2020.
This morning, after meeting Bharti, Chief Minister Chouhan left for Jabalpur to address a huge gathering of women - the beneficiaries of the schemes hoping to retain power after the Assembly polls slated later this year.
The much talked about 'Ladli Behna' scheme, has been formulated on lines of Chief Minister Shivraj's flagship 'Ladli Laxmi Yojana' during his previous tenure, which earned him the tag of 'Mama'(maternal uncle).
With the elections just five months away and the BJP and the CM reeling under high anti-incumbency, an obvious question arises whether this new ambitious scheme would fetch him the tag of 'Bhaia' (brother)?
The outcome of this scheme would also be a test of leadership of CM Chouhan, for which he has been vigorously campaigning for the last three months.As per the state government's statement, 1.25 crore women - the selected beneficiaries of the scheme - would receive the first installment of Rs 1000.
Meanwhile, the state BJP unit has been making an attempt to create an euphoria around the scheme in the state. "Ladli Behna Yojna is not just a scheme but a step towards women empowerment," state BJP president V. D. Sharma asserted.