Madhya Pradesh has a state legislature of 320 seats. The state elects 40 members to the Rajya Sabha. With the exception of 1977 and 1989 the Congress I has held a comfortable majority, though the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) has always had a strong following too. In December 1993 the BJP suffered a reverse, the Congress I winning power again in the State Assembly and Digvijay Singh was named Chief Minister.
In the 1998 election, despite strong poll predictions that indicated otherwise, the Congress was voted back to power with a good majority. Digvijay Singh is still the Chief Minister of the state. The Maharaja of Gwalior Madhavrao Scindia remains a popular local and national politician.
The main food crops are jowar (sorghum), wheat, rice and coarse millets such as kondo and kutki. Pulses (beans, lentils and peas) and groundnuts (peanuts) are grown too. Rice is preferred in the East where water is abundant; while wheat is the staple in the drier regions of western Madhya Pradesh which touch the great Thar Desert.
Madhya Pradesh is the largest producer of soybean in India. Although overall productivity of agriculture is quite low, oilseeds (linseed and sesame), cotton and sugarcane are also grown here.
Madhya Pradesh has plenty of forest reserves, which are logged for teak, sal, bamboo and salai (which yields a resin used for incense and medicines).
Minerals & Ores
Madhya Pradesh is rich in mineral resources. The country’s largest diamond mine situated at Panna near Khajuraho has recoverable reserves of one million carats. Other mineral deposits include high-grade limestone, dolomite, iron ore, manganese ore, copper, coal, rock phosphate and bauxite. The state is also the country’s only producer of the tin ore. Recently, an extensive program has been undertaken by the government to explore gold deposits in Raipur and Raigarh districts of the state.
There are seven major rivers in the state, Narmada, Chambal, Tapti, Sone, Betwa, Mahanadi and Indravati. These offer good potential for generating hydroelectric power. The project at Chambal Valley is in cooperation with Rajasthan. Other schemes include those at Rajghat, Bansagar, the Mahanadi Reservoir, Hasdeo Bango and Bargi.
Several large and medium-scale industries are based at Indore, Ujjain, Gwalior and Jabalpur. The major industries today are the steel plant at Bhilai, the heavy electrical plant at Bhopal, an aluminum plant in Korba, paper mills at Hoshangabad and Nepanagar, an alkaloid battery factory at Neemuch and numerous cement works.
The railways, initially laid to connect Mumbai with Delhi and Calcutta, and Delhi with Madras, today connect every corner of the state. In many districts the road network is quite poor and because of this some of its richest mineral deposits remain unexplored. Madhya Pradesh offers great potential for economic growth.