New Delhi: Roads in the United States, often considered the gold standard in India, aren't good enough for Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. On a visit to the US to attract investors to the state, Mr Chouhan has told a meeting that he felt the roads back home in Madhya Pradesh were a lot better than those in the US.
- Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister was speaking at an event in the US
- His government has received flak for potholed roads in Bhopal
- Mr Chouhan said his government built 1.75 lakh km of roads in the state
"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," said Mr Chouhan, who has faced flak for poorly-maintained roads from the opposition back home in the state.
"I am not saying it just for the sake of it," the chief minister, a wide beaming smile on his face, told the audience, before he got down to talking about how the government had constructed 1.75 lakh km of roads in the state. "We have connected all villages with roads," he said.
The United States' road network exceeds 65.8 lakh km, the world's longest and biggest road network.
It is not clear which road in Bhopal Madhya Pradesh's longest-serving Chief Minister had in mind when he made the statement.
His government has been frequently criticised for the potholed roads in the state capital as well as in other parts of the state.
In August this year, Mr Chouhan's cabinet colleague in-charge of roads Rampal Singh suggested it was a deliberate strategy.
"The potholes are a reminder of the condition of roads under Congress rule," Mr Singh, the public works minister told NDTV in August this year.
The BJP's state president Nandkumar Chouhan had agreed with the strategy. "How else would the younger generation know what Congress rule was like," he said. The BJP has been governing the state for the last 12 years.
Last year, the opposition Aam Aadmi Party started a campaign to plant saplings in potholes and name them after the ruling party politicians to draw the government's attention.
Incidentally, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari often talks of emulating the United States' philosophy underlining its heavy investments in road infrastructure.