India’s first ‘Happiness Minister’ among 13 BJP Ministers who lost in the state elections.
BHOPAL: After 33 years, the Madhya Pradesh Assembly has two Muslim legislators -- Arif Aqueel and Arif Masood. Since 1998, Aqueel was the lone Muslim MLA in the 230-member legislative Assembly, winning from Bhopal North. In the recently held state polls, he has been joined by Masood, who represents Bhopal Madhya. Both are Congress candidates.
In the 2018 Assembly elections, Aqueel defeated BJP’s Fatima Rasool with a margin of 35,000 votes, while Masood won from Bhopal Madhya constituency by defeating BJP’s Surendranath Singh with a margin of 15,000 votes.
There were a total of four Muslim candidates in the fray from the BJP and the Congress. Two women and two men. Congress had given ticket to three Muslim leaders including a women Masarrat Shahid from Sironj seat who failed to win, while BJP only gave a ticket to only one. The Muslim population in the state is estimated at 8-9% of the total population.
Happiness Minister ‘Unhappy’
Tuesday turned out to be unhappy for Madhya Pradesh’s Minister for Happiness, Lal Singh Arya, who was one of the 13 BJP Ministers who lost the Assembly elections.
Arya was the first Minister of Madhya Pradesh's Happiness Ministry, and also the country’s first, modelled on the national happiness index used by Bhutan.
The Assembly elections result were declared on December 11, and ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured 109 seats out of 230 seats, while Congress secured 114, Samajwadi Party 1, Bahujan Samaj Party 2 and four independents.
With the support of other parties and independent MLAs, Congress staked claim to form the government before the Governor Anandiben Patel on Wednesday afternoon.
In a neck-and-neck fight between Congress and BJP, 13 out of 20 sitting ministers of BJP failed to retain their seats. Some top ministers who lost are Minister of Happiness Lal Singh Arya, Higher Education Minister Jaibhan Singh Pawaiya, Revenue Minister Umashankar Gupta, Medical Education Minister Sharad Jain, Finance Minister Jayant Malaiya, Health Minister Rustam Singh, School and Technical Education Minister Deepak Joshi,
In addition, Animal Husbandry Minister Antar Singh Arya, Women and Child Development Minister Archana Chitnis, Backward Class and Minority Welfare Minister Lalita Yadav, New and Renewable Energy Minister Narayan Singh Kushwaha and Food, Civil Supply Minister Om Praksh Dhurwey and state minister Balkrishna Patidar also lost their seats.
Most of these minister lost with a margin of 10,000 votes while New and Renewable Energy Minister Narayan Singh Kushwaha and Finance Minister Jayant Malaiya lost with a margin of only 200 to 300 votes.
After losing the Gohad seat, an unhappy Happiness Minister blamed Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan for his defeat. He said, “I should not have lost from the seat where I had given pace to the development but CM’s ‘koi mai ka lal reservation kahatam nahi kar sakta’ ( no one can ever end reservation) remark had played a key role in losing my seat.”
Besides BJP, Congress stalwart and leader of opposition in the Assembly Ajay Singh also lost th party’s traditional seat Churhat with a margin of 6,000 votes.
CM Chouhan registered a comfortable victory from his traditional seat, Budhni, by defeating Congress’s heavyweight leader Arun Yadav. But the margin of victory was narrower this time by 20,000 votes.
Taking full responsibility for the defeat, Chouhan said, “I’m the one who is fully responsible for the defeat because we failed to reach out to the rural voters.”
He further said, “I’m sure the Congress will fulfill what it has promised in its manifesto. Aaj se ham chowkidar ke bhumika nibhayenge (from today, we will play the role of watchman) and BJP will play a constructive role of opposition.”