Shivraj Singh Chouhan sets example for others: 'BJP man of Vajpayee mould', says Twitter commending CM's graceful exit

Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who served as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh for the last 15 years, stepped down from the post after the Bharatiya Janata Party lost the legislative Assembly election to Congress by seven seats. After submitting his resignation to Governor Anandiben Patel, news agency ANI quoted him as saying: "Ab mein mukt hoon (I am now free). I have tendered my resignation to the honourable Governor. The responsibility of defeat is totally mine. I have congratulated Kamal Nath ji... Whether win or lose, I am not scared in the slightest."

Chouhan also took to Twitter to thank the state for voting for the BJP, and said that he will "respect your unlimited affection, faith and blessings till the last moments of my life."

Even in defeat, Chouhan was a poignant orator and a graceful runner-up. In his press address following elections, Chouhan set an example that other BJP chief ministerial faces have failed to follow in the past. Conceding defeat, Chouhan shouldered the blame for the defeat, while crediting the BJP's central leadership and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his 15-year-long term as the chief minister. Accepting that his party failed to get the mandate and the expected success, Chouhan said that his intent was always to serve the people of Madhya Pradesh as a family member. "But still, if I have hurt anyone unknowingly, I ask them for their forgiveness." Chouhan pledged to play the role of a "strong but responsible" Opposition. He urged the Congress party to rise above the politics and maintain continuity in the schemes introduced by his government. "People do not matter in a democracy. They come and they go. But the continuity in people's service should be maintained. So I urge the new government to maintain these schemes properly," Chouhan said.

Chouhan's gracefully crafted speech, wherein he not only accepted defeat but also subtly pointed out that the people's mandate was so divided that it wasn't completely against him, was in stark contrast of the situation in Karnataka. BJP's chief ministerial face in Karnataka BS Yeddyurappa took oath as the chief minister of a minority government and then resigned just ahead of the trust vote. It has been suggested that he skipped the floor test because it had become obvious that BJP did not have the numbers.

Chouhan's exit is also in stark contrast to the situation in Goa, where ailing chief minister Manohar Parrikar is still continues in his positions, despite repeated calls to step down. So much so, that the BJP leadership refused to allow Parrikar to step down despite the Goa chief minister requesting the party to relieve him of his CM duties.

The Twitterati commended Chouhan for gracefully stepping down. From labelling him a "BJP stalwart in Vajpayee mould" to the "people's chief minister", Twitter and political pundits were all praise for him, and noted that he set the bar too high even for his own party colleagues. Praise for Chouhan's conduct comments poured in from colleagues, contenders and critics alike.

Chouhan, who took the defeat in his stride, also made sure that he responds to most of the comments on Twitter personally, and in his trademark style. His responses bore the mark of his style — using polished Hindi phrases, and laced with emotion.  



Unlike Amit Shah and many other BJP leaders, who stayed silent on Congress' win but did not shy away from congratulating KCR, Chouhan called state Congress chief Kamal Nath to congratulate him, and later even met him. Credit goes to even Nath, who paid a courtesy visit to Chouhan at his official residence. Chouhan also said that he will continue to put in efforts to ensure that the political discourse does not vitiate the basic democratic etiquette and courtesy.

In these times, Chouhan's conduct sets an example for the political fraternity, and perhaps carries the message that it is time to restore the Indian democracy to its previous state of glory, where people's mandate takes precedence over petty politics and personal gains.

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Updated Date: Dec 12, 2018 16:02:40 IST

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