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  India   Politics  31 Oct 2023  Shivraj ‘CM’ if Low Margin Win: BJP

Shivraj ‘CM’ if Low Margin Win: BJP

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Oct 31, 2023, 3:51 am IST
Updated : Oct 31, 2023, 3:51 am IST

The RSS has apparently indicated that it was “satisfied” with the present government and the way it had furthered the saffron agenda

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh. (Photo: Twitter)
 Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh. (Photo: Twitter)

New Delhi: While the BJP high command is tepid over the continuation of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the RSS has apparently indicated that it was “satisfied” with the present government and the way it had furthered the saffron agenda. It was learnt that the BJP could be “forced” to continue with Mr Chouhan as chief minister if the party won the Assembly polls in the state by a slender margin. If the victory margin was bigger, it would be viewed as the triumph of the “collective leadership”, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the race for the top post “will then be thrown open”, sources said.

The RSS reportedly conveyed to the party high command that Mr Chouhan had “sincerely pursued the ideological goals” of the organization, which included pushing religious tourism. These ranged from the installation of a 108-foot-tall statue of Adi Shankaracharya in Omkareshwar, opening of both the phases of Mahakal Lok projects, formation of a trust to develop the route taken by Lord Ram during his exile, laying the foundation stone for "Hanuman Lok" -- a religious centre in Chhindwara district, laying of the foundation stone for Devi Lok at Vijayasan Devi temple, among others.

The Sangh, it was learnt, was also “not pleased” with the gradual marginalisation of “a few mass leaders left in the party”. It noted that besides Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, Mr Chouhan, Yogi Adityanath and Vasundhara Raje were the prominent “mass leaders who wielded considerable influence in the Hindi heartland”.

What has also stumped the party high command is the caste census card unleashed by the Congress. The caste census card has “added to the BJP high command’s uneasiness”, a party functionary revealed. With Mr Chouhan being one of the most powerful Other Backward Caste (OBC) leaders, the party has decided to refrain from giving any mixed signals at this juncture. Incidentally, OBCs comprise over 50 per cent of the state’s population.

Besides being the most prominent OBC face in the BJP, Mr Chouhan’s popularity among women voters was “also being taken into account”, the party leader said. Women form nearly 50 per cent of the state’s voter base. Party leaders and contenders for Mr Chouhan’s post have been asked to “go quiet” on the issue of a “collective leadership” for the time being.

Even if there’s no clear indication of a CM face by the BJP,  with a series of welfare schemes, particularly “Ladli Bahena” schemes, “Rakshabandhan gifts”, “subsidised cooking gas” and “government jobs”, Mr Chouhan seems to be leading the pack with impunity, a BJP functionary noted. All the other contenders for CM  have so far stayed in the background. Also, party posters all over the state continue to highlight Mr Chouhan, besides Prime Minister Modi and home minister Amit Shah. “We might not have announced his name, but for all practical purposes he’s leading the show in the state,” a senior BJP leader observed. Sending a  clear signal, Mr Chouhan recently went on record saying: “I may look thin physically, but I am a strong fighter.”

It’s not for the first time that efforts were made to dislodge Mr Chouhan. Sources revealed that in March 2020, the party high command displayed clear reluctance to anoint Mr Chouhan as chief minister for the fourth time. However, at the end it was Mr Chouhan who zipped past all the others after the Congress government fell in the state.

Tags: shivraj sigh chouhan, madhya pradesh bjp, bharatiya janata party ( bjp)