M A I N   N E W S

Chauhan to be CM of MP
Uma made party Gen Secy
Satish Misra and S Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 26
The Bhartiya Janata Party today decided to appoint its Lok Sabha MP from Vidisha Shivraj Singh Chauhan as the next Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister replacing Babulal Gaur and making fiery sanyasin Uma Bharti the General Secretary of the party at the national level.

In a move to avert the impending crisis in the Madhya Pradesh unit of the party, the BJP Parliamentary Board met twice today to resolve the crisis that had been plaguing the party for a couple of months and decided to hand over the baton to Mr Chauhan instead of Ms Bharti whose loyalists had been demanding her comeback to the chief ministerial chair.

Whether the crisis is over can’t be said at this stage as Ms Bharti’s reaction to the development is not known.

Briefing newspersons, BJP General Secretary Arun Jaitley announced the Parliamentary Board’s decision but failed to inform the date of the legislature party meeting in Bhopal where Mr Chauhan has to be elected for getting an invitation from the Governor to take the oath.

For the first time in the history of the BJP, a chief minister has been announced after the Parliamentary Board meeting even before he or she has been elected by the legislators. This has been done by the Central leadership to avert any further factional feud.

“The State Legislative Party meeting will be held in a couple of days time and BJP president L K Advani will choose the observers,” Mr Jaitley said.

Whether Ms Bharti is agreeing with the Parliamentary Board’s decision or not is not known as she had reportedly told the party general secretaries Arun Jaitley, Sanjay Joshi and Pramod Mahajan that a decision on Madhaya Pradesh should be taken immediately.

Sources said Ms Bharti, who is known for her fiery temperament, had told the party that “her interests should not be ignored”.

Mr Jaitley said Mr Babulal Gaur had sent in his resignation to Mr Advani this afternoon, following with the Parliamentary Board decided to nominate Mr Chauhan as the next Chief Minister.

Earlier, Ms Bharti met the party’s top leaders, including party President L K Advani and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee separately.

While Mr Advani and Mr Jaswant Singh were said to be in favour of convening a legislature party meeting, other leaders were insisting that the Central leadership nominate Mr Chauhan for the top post and get him formally elected at the legislature party meeting.

It was only after the Parliamentary Board meeting failed to reach a decision on the issue, that Ms Bharti went to meet Mr Mahajan where she conveyed her “threat” in presence of the other two General Secretaries, sources said.

Meanwhile, soon after his name was announced for the top Madhya Pradesh position Mr Chauhan told The Tribune “I am really indebted to the party and it had been my endeavour to fulfill responsibilities given to me by the party.”

Asked about the internal feud in Madhya Pradesh’s state unit, Mr Chauhan maintained that there was no feud and the “party is like a family”. On Ms Bharti, he said she is one of the most respected BJP leaders and she will play a crucial role in the welfare of the State.

On priorities, he said my job is cut out. “We had won the polls on the issues of development and my effort will be fulfill the promises made to the electorate with the cooperation of my party colleagues and the people of the state.”

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