Campaign trail: Shivraj is 'bhaiya' for locals in Jait
Jait (Budhni): The world may know him by the moniker 'mama' but Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's ancestral village here is possibly the only place in the state where he is addressed as 'bhaiya' as locals remember his rise to power from a humble beginning.
About 86-kms from the state capital Bhopal, Jait is located on the banks of the Narmada and is connected to Chouhan's assembly constituency of Budhni via state highway No. 15.
A broad banked under-construction 3.5-km dust track from the main road, flanked by paddy fields, takes people to Chouhan's house, at the entrance of which is a big photograph of the CM depicting him with folded hands greeting visitors. Hariom Yadav, a domestic help at the house, informs that the occupants of the house-- the CM's elder brother Narendra Singh, his wife and others are out in Budhni for campaign related work. "But, they will be back by the evening," Yadav says as he offers tea in the courtyard of the two-storeyed house where an old portrait of Chouhan and his wife Sadhna Singh hangs.
"He (Chouhan) is bhaiya (elder brother) to us. This is the affectionate name this village addresses him with. The entire state may call him 'mama' but locals here hold a very special place for him and vice-versa," village elder 67-year-old Bhagwan Das told PTI.
This small village is known as the CM's home place and people from 'Jait' get together like one family whenever the elder brother visits, he said while supervising work at his under-construction home.
The tiny village has over 260 households and less than 2,000 voters. "Bhaiya makes sure he comes home for the 'dooj' festival twice a year and locals take it upon themselves that they campaign for him during elections and cover nearby villages along with other members of the Chouhan family," says tailor Santosh Namdev, when asked why the village wore a deserted look. This is harvesting season so few others are out in the fields, he adds.
Imrati Devi, while performing her daily ablutions at the banks of the Narmada River, says Chouhan has helped the people of his village during every crisis or trouble.
He (Chouhan) lived here during his early days and then moved out for his studies and work in politics. 'Bhaiya' has made sure that he is connected to every big or small development in the village, local Hari Singh Chouhan said. The CM has had a very humble origin and not only he is connected to the ground but has made his way to the top with great hardwork, he adds. The village has a panchayat, a public health centre and the roads are made of RCC (reinforced cement and concrete) and locals expect more development once 'bhaiya' wins another battle at the hustings.