Seeds of Success: How Chouhan Grew Votes

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Seeds of Success: How Chouhan Grew Votes and Power in Madhya Pradesh

| Updated: December 3, 2023 14:23

Seeds of Success: How Chouhan Grew Votes

Madhya Pradesh’s agricultural success story is undeniable. Under Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the state has witnessed a remarkable transformation, earning comparisons to the Punjab miracle of Partap Singh Kairon. But there’s a crucial difference: Chouhan’s focus has remained fixated on agriculture, neglecting broader industrialization.

The numbers tell the tale. MP’s farm sector boasts a 6.1% annual growth rate (2013-24) – surpassing the national average (3.9%) and even Kairon’s Punjab (4.5%). Chouhan’s reign, spanning nearly two decades, has seen:

Land use optimization: Net sown area rose marginally (5.7%), but gross cropped area surged 48.7%. This means each field yielded more, thanks to:

  • Irrigation boom: Net irrigated area doubled (2004-21), with groundwater connections for tubewells tripling (2011-21). Canal irrigation also saw significant expansion.
  • MSP magic: Assured minimum support prices, especially for wheat, revolutionized procurement. MP went from barely 0.5 million tonnes (mt) to becoming the largest wheat contributor to the central pool, exceeding even Punjab.
  • Empowering farmers: Decentralized procurement, online registration, and SMS alerts ensured fair market access even for small farmers. Schemes like Mukhya Mantri Kisan Kalyan Yojana and Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana provided additional financial support.

However, Chouhan’s green revolution has a glaring weakness: its singular focus. While agriculture flourishes, sectors like manufacturing and modern services lag behind. Agriculture contributes a staggering 44.2% of MP’s GVA and employs nearly 60% of its workforce – the highest in India. This reliance, experts argue, hinders diversification.

Unlike Kairon, who laid the groundwork for Punjab’s industrialization alongside the Green Revolution, Chouhan hasn’t replicated that success. Kairon’s achievements included:

  • Land reforms: Consolidation of holdings and imposition of a ceiling empowered farmers.
  • Infrastructure push: Bhakra Nangal dam and Punjab Agricultural University laid the foundation for future growth.
  • Industrial vision: Kairon attracted private investments, establishing fertilizer plants, machine tool factories, and industrial estates.

Kairon understood that Punjab’s future couldn’t be solely agricultural. He left behind a state that was not only a green giant but also an industrial powerhouse – a stark contrast to MP’s single-dimensional growth.

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