In a freewheeling interview, Kartikey Chouhan, son of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, says that his father considers himself a sevak of the people and courtesy his development plank, he will win a record fourth term. Excerpts.

Q. You are a trained lawyer. What are your future plans?

A. I am still in law school, and I have a year left to complete my law education. I fully intend to pursue law as a career and after I finish graduation I shall begin working as an advocate in the Bhopal District Court. Ten years down the line, I see my hard work and determination making me a successful advocate who is not just living for himself but also contributing to the welfare of the community by giving legal aid.

Q. Earlier this month, you addressed a large gathering in Jaitpur, Sehore which was seen as your first step towards joining politics. What do you have to say?

A. Firstly, I would like to point out that Narmada Seva Yatra, a campaign run by the honourable Chief Minister is not just a political stage but a jana abhiyana where all individuals are equal. The object is to spread awareness across the state for the conservation of our holy river. Considering Jait is my ancestral village, I found it my duty to welcome all the dignitaries and people who came from the neighbouring villages. Hence, I gave the welcome speech. This act should not be seen as me stepping into the “political shoes” of my father.

Q. Do you share your ideas and suggestions regarding good governance, which will benefit the people of Madhya Pradesh, with your father?

A. My father is not just my “guru”, but also a man who has led our state with humility. His obsession with the people and his desire to see Madhya Pradesh blossom into India’s best state do not leave much time for father-son talks. But yes, when we do, I like to question him about his policies. I like to put forward my disagreements and demand explanations, all of which, he entertains with all his love.

Q. In the last Assembly elections, you had also campaigned for your father and met people from different social and economic strata. Did that experience give you something to remember and learn?

A. My father is also known as “Paou Paou walle bhaiya” (one who is extremely hard working); on ordinary days he works for about 14-16 hours and we all know elections require an extraordinary amount of effort. My father campaigned in 228 Assembly seats and he asked for my and my mother’s assistance for the two seats where he himself was contesting.

I have many wonderful memories. I realised that being human is not just about filling your own belly; it calls for contributing towards the well being of your fellow humans. I decided that a part of me would always be devoted towards the uplift of those who are not as privileged.

Q. What is the one thing that you, as a young man, think that the MP  government should do differently right now?

A. The hon’ble CM has launched and implemented an array of policies for different sections of society and I do not disagree with any of them. However, I personally believe that MP should take a step forward towards the industrialisation of agriculture. MP has a predominantly agricultural base and it should really look forward to inviting industries that function in this field, for example food processing industries. The farmers must be made aware of the alternatives to the traditional farming techniques. They should be introduced to current industrial sciences like horticulture. When it comes to policy making for farmers, I believe that the government has hit the bull’s eye, but I think that when it comes to serving the people there is always a scope to do more. Government should formulate policies to attract private parties to invest in tourism. One major problem that MP is facing is that of connectivity and I believe that public-private partnership for better transportation options could be the solution.

Q. What is your view on the VYAPAM, scam which has impacted many young people like you? There is a perception that the accused in the scam were protected by the state government.

A. I totally disagree with this perception. The government has not protected anyone, but has brought the guilty to justice. I believe that the government took active steps to make the system more transparent and because of these efforts by the government, defaulters were brought under the scanner and put to justice.

Q. Elections are due in MP next year. Do you think that the BJP is fighting a very strong anti-incumbency wave?

A. The people have faith in their government; they haven’t forgotten those times when the Congress was in power. India has transformed exponentially over the last decade. In Madhya Pradesh, people have witnessed development and they will vote for the BJP again. Due credit to the leadership of our Hon’ble CM, who has not even for a second considered himself as some “mantri” or “sarkar” but always worked as a “sevak”. This is what young India wants and this will make BJP come back in the state again.


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