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Shivraj Chouhan’s CM question at rally in MP triggers unease in BJP

  • “Should Mama (as he is popularly called) become chief minister or not?” Chouhan asked the crowd”
    he also asked if Narendra Modi should become the Prime Minister again or not

  • Amit Gaur @ EW News

  • Bhopal : Should Shivraj Singh Chouhan become the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh again? This question when asked by the leader himself during a public event has created an unease of sorts within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has decided not to declare a CM face in the state ahead of the crucial assembly elections scheduled for November 17.
    “I want to ask you whether I am running a good government or a bad government. Should this government move ahead or not? Should Mama (as he is popularly called) become chief minister or not?” Chouhan asked the crowd on Friday while addressing a programme in tribal-dominated Dindori district.

  • In the same vein, he also asked if Narendra Modi should become the Prime Minister again or not. The crowd replied to both the questions with screams of “yes”.

  • Chouhan, who is the longest-serving chief minister of Madhya Pradesh having helmed the post since 2005 — barring an 18-month period between 2018 and 2020 when the Congress was in power — has been making an emotional pitch to voters, occasionally even shedding tears. Last week during an event in his home district Sehore, he made an appeal to women voters, saying: “You will not find a brother like me. You will remember me a lot when I am no longer around.”

  • Elections to the 230-member Madhya Pradesh assembly polls are scheduled for next month November 17. The BJP central leadership has decided to contest the elections in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi while withholding the party’s chief ministerial candidate — something that the party has done before several state elections in the past. Senior leaders, including Union home minister Amit Shah and his cabinet colleague and party’s state poll panel convener Narendra Singh Tomar have said in public that the next chief minister will be decided by the party after the elections.

  • In the three lists of candidates declared by the BJP for the upcoming polls, the party has not named Chouhan. Incidentally, the 78 names include heavyweights Union ministers such as Tomar, Prahlad Singh Patel and Faggan Singh Kulaste besides national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and several senior legislators, all of whom are seen as possible contenders for the CM’s post. But the fourth list set aside the whole rumours about the fate of Chauhan. The BJP has fielded Chauhan from his home turf Bidhuni.
    Addressing a gathering in Indore recently, Vijayvargiya had said: “I have not come here to just become an MLA. The party will give me a bigger responsibility than that.”

A senior BJP functionary, requesting anonymity, said unlike 2008, 2013 and 2018 assembly elections, when Chouhan led the party singlehandedly, strategy is different this time. “The party has decided to showcase a collective leadership in Madhya Pradesh. This may be because after the 2018 assembly defeat and surveys showing strong anti-incumbency against Chouhan, the party has realised it can’t bank on Chouhan’s leadership anymore,” he said.

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