BHOPAL: Grappling with 14 years of anti-incumbency, farmers’ unrest and problems of Dalits and tribals, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is all poised to launch his pre-election road show: “Jan Darshan Yatra” from November with an aim to restore faith in the saffron party before next year’s assembly elections .
Chouhan’s Jan Darshan coincides with a series of public appearance programmes which were kicked off with Narmada Sewa Yatra in December 2016 and were followed by ‘Jan Vishwas Yatra’, ‘Adivisi Vikas Yatra’ and recently organised ‘Kisan Sandesh Yatra’ to woo various communities and their aligned groups.
Incidentally, the chief minister’s campaign also coincides with Congress leader Digvijaya Singh’s Narmada Yatra which is likely to commence from September 30 and is expected to continue through next year covering 1,034-km run of Narmada. The two campaigns would test waters for both the Congress and the BJP ahead of the assembly elections.
‘Jan Darshan’ is based on public participation through an interactive mode where the chief minister will take out huge rallies and hold road shows to meet, greet and address public in the campaigning mode. However, the schedule and itinerary of the Jan Darshan programme is yet to be finalised, said sources in Mantralaya.
“Chief minister will decide the schedule, most probably after Diwali and initiate his public meetings in one of the districts where BJP needs more focus. He will select any town, reach there by chopper and organise 20 to 25 km road shows. The Jan Darshan will continue until the assembly elections are announced,” said a senior state functionary of the BJP.
Officials in Mantralaya said that Jan Darshan is like a review of the government’s performance through a direct interaction with the public. Here, the chief minister will communicate (with the public) to get feedback and will inform the public about works done by his government and those likely to be taken up in the future, said a senior official in chief minister’s office (CMO).
Official also said that the government has made elaborate arrangements to substantiate works done during Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s tenure and welfare schemes undertaken to help the marginalised and poor.
Earlier, Chouhan took out Narmada Sewa Yatra along the bank of Narmada where public meetings and ‘Kalash Yatras’ were held to save the sacred river and the environment. BJP claimed that the Yatra came out as a huge success. The ‘Jan Darshan’ programme will also be based on the same strategy, sources added.
Some BJP leaders though, admitted that two more such programmes held after Narmada Yatra failed to get the desired results. The party had announced Adivasi Vikas Yatra in tribal areas to woo tribals on the basis of welfare schemes launched by the state and the Centre. But, that too did not garner the desired response.
Thereafter, Kisan Sandesh Yatra was announced to contain farmers’ agitation across the state which was aggravated after five farmers were killed in police firing in Mandsaur. The programme was held to mark the 125th birth anniversary of saffron ideologue Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay. But, the campaign had to be stalled temporarily due to BJP president Amit Shah’s three-day visit to Bhopal.
Taking a jibe at the series of BJP Yatras, Congress, which also plans to hold a series of public campaigns ahead of the assembly elections, alleged that the Yatras would expose the fallacy of the tall claims and false promises made by the BJP.