Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, was ridiculed on social media last year for saying after a visit to the US that roads in his state are much better. Unfazed by the jeers, Mr Chouhan repeated his assessment at a public meeting on Wednesday.
"When I went to United States and said, "Dear Americans, you must have made roads, but we have made better roads than you," the Congress criticised me. I want to say again that our roads are no less than US," Mr Chouhan said while addressing a rally in Shahdol as part of a state-wide campaign for elections in Madhya Pradesh later this year.
"We have made 1.5 lakh km roads in Madhya Pradesh. Congress gave 1,900 MW electricity, but today we are giving 18,000 MW electricity. Madhya Pradesh has become power surplus state today," he said, accusing the Congress of making Madhya Pradesh a "Bimaru" or "ailing" state.
Mr Chouhan, who is seeking re-election in Madhya Pradesh after three straight terms, accused the Congress of arrogance. "They think they don't need to go to the people, that people will come to them. Congress should not humiliate the people as there is nobody above them," he said.
"Madhya Pradesh is my temple and people living here are my god. I am the priest of the state people," the Chief Minister added.
In October last year, Mr Chouhan had said at the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, "When I got down at the Washington Airport and travelled on roads, I felt the roads in Madhya Pradesh are better than the United States."
Soon after, 'MP Roads' became the top trending topic on Twitter and a 2016 photo of Mr Chouhan being carried across a flooded road was circulated online. It became an instant draw for hilarious photos and memes; many posted images of beautiful highways across the world and said they were from Madhya Pradesh.
The Madhya Pradesh government had to release a series of photographs to counter the ridicule and back his words.
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