Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today took a swipe at his former counterpart and Congress leader Kamal Nath as a "bigger problem than COVID-19".
"Is Kamal Nath capable of fighting COVID-19? He is a bigger problem in Madhya Pradesh than COVID-19. We fought the crisis well," Mr Chouhan said while addressing people on completing 100 days in office, news agency ANI reported.
"We have deposited Rs 40,000 crore into the accounts of the poor in Madhya Pradesh under different schemes. Will Kamal Nath put this money? Kamal Nath had stopped every public welfare scheme in the state. We made arrangements to buy farmers' produce even in this crisis," the Chief Minister said.
Mr Chouhan said the former chief minister lied to farmers about indebtedness. "Kamla Nath did not pay insurance premium. I paid the premium as soon as I formed government and deposited Rs 2,990 crore of insurance into farmers' accounts," Mr Chouhan said.
Mr Chouhan became Chief Minister for the fourth time just before the coronavirus lockdown was announced in late March. The Congress government of Kamal Nath had fallen after losing its majority. Since then both have been engaged in a war of words amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In the cabinet expansion of Mr Chouhan this week, the move clearly went in favour of Jyotiraditya Scindia, the 49-year-old who switched to BJP from the Congress in March with 22 of his followers, leading to the collapse of the state government.
But his is success in getting the BJP top leadership's backing for 11 ministerial berths for his aides, has brought about a rebellion of sorts in the BJP ranks.
Observers of the state politics have speculated about how the rivalry between Mr Chouhan and Mr Scindia will play out. At a rally to welcome the newcomer, the Chief Minister had compared him to "Bibhishan" - the brother of Ravaan in Ramayan, who was blamed for turning against his family.
With inputs from ANI