Madhya Pradesh chief minister told the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum in Washington that the roads in his home state are better than those in America

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s penchant for bragging, and often exaggerating, about the achievements of his government turned him into a butt of jokes on the social media, on Wednesday, as news trickled in about him reportedly telling a Indo-US forum in Washington that the roads in his home state are better than those in the American capital.

Chouhan, who is currently on a visit to the USA with the aim of attracting investors for his state, reportedly told the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum on Tuesday that “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.”

As soon as the news of Chouhan’s outlandish claim was flashed by media organisations in India, the Twitteratti went crazy posting all sorts of memes and comments over the three-term Madhya Pradesh chief minister and the condition of road infrastructure in the state that has been under BJP rule since 2003.

Many Twitter users posted and re-tweeted images of potholed roads from across MP and juxtaposed them with pictures purported to be of thoroughfares in the US. Some even dug out an infamous picture of Chouhan being literally lifted and carried through a stream by policemen during his visit to flood-affected Panna in Madhya Pradesh last year. Congress leaders too didn’t miss the opportunity to poke fun at the BJP chief minister.

While it is a fact that the condition of key highways in Madhya Pradesh has seen a marked improvement under the Chouhan regime when compared to the time when the Congress ruled the state with Digvijaya Singh as chief minister, arterial roads and thoroughfares in smaller cities of the state, especially those in the Bundelkhand and Vindhyachal districts continue to be in a pathetic, potholed state.

In 2003, when the BJP – with Uma Bharati as its chief ministerial candidate – trounced the Digvijaya Singh-led Congress in the MP Assembly election, the poor condition of roads coupled with the issue of long power outages was the main poll plank of the saffron party. BJP chief ministers in the state since 2003 – Uma Bharati, Babulal Gaur and Chouhan – continue to remind the MP electorate of the poor state of roads across MP during the Digvijaya regime till date.

However, considering that Chouhan was speaking in the US, his comparison of the roads in his home state with those in the US and bizarre claim of MP roads being better can only be termed absurd.

Chouhan reportedly told the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum: “when I became the chief minister 12 years back it was in my mind that without basic infrastructure no state can develop. Our first focus was on building roads. We have constructed around 1.75 lakh kilometre roads in the state and all the villages have been well-connected.”

The MP chief minister perhaps was ignorant of the fact that US – with its over 65.8 lakh km of metalled roads – has the world’s longest and biggest road network.

This is the second time since October 22 – when he left for the US – that Chouhan has been trolled on Twitter for his comments. On October 22, the chief minister had posted an image of his business class seating area in the Air India flight that he took to go to the US and praised the national carrier for its “world class service”. His post got angry responses from Twitter users who lashed out at Chouhan for spending the public’s money on his business class journeys and advised him to travel in the economy class of Air India which has a dubious reputation for offering bad service to fliers.