Politics has become a family business in the largest democracy of the world. When elections near whole family struggles to get win for their member of the family. This is also the case with Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Chouhan is a three-term Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and a sitting MLA from Budhni assembly constituency where he had won four elections but he is rarely seen in his constituency. Voters confirm that he is only once seen when he comes for filing his nomination papers.
According to a report published in The Hindu, voters are connected with his wife Sadhana Singh Chouhan and son Kartikeya more than his MLA Chouhan. Chouhan’s wife is often referred to as the power behind the throne.
“All these people know him and know us all,” said Ms Chouhan as The Daily caught up with her on the campaign trail at Rehti. Stopping to speak to party workers at the camp office, accompanied by local Nagar Palika chief Sunita Hari Narayan Chouhan, Ms. Chouhan has an outreach that is domestic in tone and tenor. She refers to herself as bhabhi, or sister-in-law, and to Chouhan as their bhaiyya, or brother.
“This [Budhni] is where he [Chouhan] began his political journey, and was referred to as Paon-Paon Bhaiyya (walking brother), since he took out a padyatra in the 1980s to focus attention on the state of the roads,” she says to nods from supporters, who recalled that Kartikeya, then a child, had walked alongside his father.
Sadhana Singh is said to have much influence in his husband’s jurisdiction and has faced controversies so many times including when she was linked to Madhya Pradesh infamos VYAPAM case. According to sources, she plays a key role in appointments of important bureaucrats and a medium in access to CM’s office.
According to reports, when voters get irritated it is Sadhana who pacifies them. On this she says “I am their bhabhi and they are my nanad (elder sister-in-law),” adding “It is their right to say what they want to me. The people of this area are like my family.”
“The most important characteristic of my husband is that he has the ability of making people his own,” she says pointing to Rajendra Singh, former MLA from Budhni, who vacated his seat when Chouhan was sent from Delhi to replace Babulal Gaur as Chief Minister. Singh was later made chairman of a warehousing corporation, a VIP-level appointment.
Shivraj has fashioned a Mama image and he is popularly known as Mama in his state, however, in his constituency Budhni, it is Mami (Sadhana Singh Chouhan) who makes up for him.