Tribal leader Vishnu Deo Sai to be Chhattisgarh CM; pledges to fulfil PM's guarantees : The Tribune India

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Tribal leader Vishnu Deo Sai to be Chhattisgarh CM; pledges to fulfil PM's guarantees

Gets invite from Guv to form govt | Swearing-in likely on Dec 12 or 13

Tribal leader Vishnu Deo Sai to be Chhattisgarh CM; pledges to fulfil PM's guarantees

BJP leader Vishnu Deo Sai being greeted after he was chosen as the next Chhattisgarh CM in Raipur. PTI



Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, December 10

The BJP on Sunday elected tribal leader and former Union minister Vishnu Deo Sai as the fourth Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, signalling the end of the road for veteran Raman Singh, who held the top post thrice in 2003, 2008 and 2013.

Sai, 59, an MLA from Kunkuri in tribal-dominated Jashpur district of Surguja, was elected leader of the BJP Legislature Party at a meeting of 54 BJP MLAs in Raipur.

First ST leader to occupy post

  • Vishnu Deo Sai will technically be the first tribal Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh
  • Former CM late Ajit Jogi’s Scheduled Tribe status was cancelled in 2019
  • This came after a probe ordered by then CM Bhupesh Baghel claimed Jogi didn’t belong to community

Governor Biswabhushan Harichandan invited Sai to form the government after a delegation of party MLAs met him to stake claim.

Sai, upon election held under central observers — Union ministers Arjun Munda and Sarbanand Sonowal, and BJP general secretary Dushyant Gautam — said his first work as CM would be to sanction 18 lakh promised houses for the poor.

Sources said the names of Lormi MLA Arun Sao, who is the sitting BJP state chief, and Kawardha MLA Vijay Sharma were doing the rounds as likely Deputy CMs and that of Raman Singh as likely Assembly Speaker, though BJP sources said these were preliminary discussions. Sai would technically be the first tribal CM of Chhattisgarh. Former CM late Ajit Jogi’s ST status was cancelled in 2019 after a high-level probe ordered by then CM Bhupesh Baghel declared that he was not from the community.

Sai’s election as the CM signals BJP’s solidarity with state’s tribals who swung Chhattisgarh results in saffron favour when no one had anticipated the incumbent Congress to lose. The BJP this time won 17 out of the state’s 29 ST reserved segments, as against three in 2018. In Sarguja from where Sai hails, the BJP bagged all 14 seats and in tribal Bastar it wrested eight of 12, where it had just one (Dantewada) in 2018. In contrast, the Congress, which had won 25 ST seats in Chhattisgarh in the 2018 election, was down to 11 seats this time. Sai’s elevation is equally a message of encouragement to BJP cadres that hard work will ultimately pay off and that plum positions of governance are not any one prominent leader’s preserve. By ignoring Raman Singh, the former CM, PM Narendra Modi has given a clear message of leadership change on the eve of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The state has 11 parliamentary constituencies, of which the BJP won nine in 2019 LS elections.

Sai, a native of village Bagia in Kunkuri’s Kansabel area, began his public life as a panch in 1990, went on to become an MLA from Tapkara in undivided Madhya Pradesh, then a four-term Lok Sabha MP from Raigarh, a three-term state chief of BJP, a Union minister in PM Modi’s first council of ministers and, ultimately a BJP National Executive member.

Tribals constitute 35% of the state population, the second largest group after OBCs. The BJP is considering Deputy CMs to strike the right balance of communities in the power structure.

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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