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From Moderate to ‘Dangerous Mood’: MP CM Chauhan’s Political Shift

Is CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan’s response to the violence in the state suggesting a shift towards a communal rhetoric?

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Over the past two weeks, Madhya Pradesh has been witnessing a spate of communal clashes during fund collection drives organised by right-wing groups for the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. There have been reports about chanting of provocative slogans that led to violent clashes in Ujjain, Indore and Mandsaur.

A viral video showed a mob attacking a mosque in Mandsaur district, where people were seen mounting a saffron flag atop the dome. There’s also been reports of fresh violence in Rajgarh district, as people gathered outside a mosque bearing saffron flags and wielding hockey sticks while chanting slogans.

In several of these episodes, eyewitnesses claim that the police remained "mute spectators"; in one case, authorities even razed the house of a Muslim daily wage earner.

Curiously, the MP state government's focus amidst all this seems to be on punishing stone-pelters. On 3 January, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan announced that his government is looking to implement stringent laws against stone-pelters that will include a provision to auction their assets to repay any damages.

For the most part of his political career, Shivraj Singh Chauhan has enjoyed the goodwill of his people, maintained a peaceful status quo in the state, and garnered praises for his graceful political demeanour (which is said to be lacking in the BJP's new guard), but is his response to the violence in the state suggesting a shift towards a communal rhetoric?

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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