New Delhi, December 3
After BJP’s comfortable victory in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh on Sunday, the focus has shifted to who the chief ministers in the three states will be.
- Buzz about whether Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Vasundhara Raje, Raman Singh will stay or new saffron leadership will emerge in cow belt states
- Names doing rounds — Diya Kumari, Arjun Ram Meghwal in Rajasthan; Chouhan, Prahlad Patel, Vijayvargiya in MP; Arun Sao, Vijay Baghel in C’garh
Though a section in the party feel the central leadership may bet on Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Madhya Pradesh and perhaps even former CM Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan at least until 2024 Lok Sabha elections, another feels Sunday mandates were strong enough to let PM Narendra Modi effect leadership change across the cow belt.
The names of Rajsamand Lok Sabha MP and erstwhile royal Diya Kumari (who won from Vidyadhar Nagar in Jaipur district clocking the highest victory margin in Rajasthan today) and Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, a senior SC leader, are doing the rounds as potential CM faces in Rajasthan should the party decide that Raje’s innings must end.
In Madhya Pradesh, where CM Chouhan’s ‘Ladli Behna’ scheme on direct cash transfer to women played a decisive role in BJP’s dramatic win despite four-term incumbency today, the party might retain Chouhan at least for a while. Chouhan’s OBC credentials may also make it difficult for the BJP to remove him immediately after a landslide victory today. But should Chouhan be rested, Union Minister Prahlad Patel who recorded a massive win in MP’s Narsinghpur today could be an alternative choice among OBC leaders.
BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who returned to state politics after a decade and today won from Indore 1, a seat considered tough for the BJP, could be another choice. Seven-term former MLA Vijayvargiya is known to win tough seats for the BJP across Malwa. His presence helped the party regroup in Malwa where Congress had done well in 2018. Out of 66 assembly seats in Malwa and Nimar belts in MP, Congress had won 35 and BJP 28 last time. Today, the BJP won 42 of these.
In Chhattisgarh, it remains to be seen if former CM Raman Singh will find favour with the central saffron leadership. The party may back Durg Lok Sabha MP Vijay Baghel who managed to scare his uncle and CM Bhupesh Baghel of Congress during counting today with the latter briefly trailing before recovering. Bhupesh Baghel eventually won polling 95,438 votes against nephew Vijay’s 75,715.
BJP national vice-president and senior tribal leader Lata Usendi, who defeated former Congress state chief and sitting minister Mohan Markam in Bastar’s tribal Kondagaon seat today, could also be a potential face as could be BJP Chhattisgarh chief Arun Sao, who won in Lormi polling over 75,000 votes on Sunday.
The name of BJP vice-president Saroj Pandey, a senior party leader from Durg, is also doing the rounds though she was not fielded in state polls.
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