Sushma in earshot, MP minister anoints her dy PM

In Sushma Swaraj’s presence, a minister in Madhya Pradesh Wednesday projected her as the next deputy prime minister. He did so at two public rallies, and she was silent in both.

Minister of State for Tourism Surendra Patwa’s projection came days after Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had projected Arun Jaitley as the next deputy prime minister. While Jaitley had immediately played down Badal’s comment saying such things are usually said at political rallies, Sushma did not appear inclined about doing the same about Patwa’s.

Speaking at BJP workers’ rallies in Badi and Obaidullaganj, Patwa anointed Sushma for the deputy PM’s post both times and said whoever gets elected from Vidisha makes it big on the national stage. The venues are in Raisen, part of Vidisha.
“I only articulated workers’ feelings,’’ the minister told The Indian Express later. He agreed Sushma did not object to what he said. However, sensing that his comments could land him in trouble, he added, “It’s not a party guideline. It’s just an assumption.”

The minister is a nephew of former chief minister Sunderlal Patwa. The senior Patwa is widely considered the political guru of CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who often seeks his blessings.

The minister cited the examples of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Chouhan, and Sushma (who became leader of the opposition after her election) who made it big after getting elected from Vidisha. Vajpayee won in 1991 and Chouhan represented the seat for a long time. “There is something in the soil of Vidisha.”

Sushma, incidentally, mentioned Narendra Modi in passing in her speeches Wednesday, having given his name a miss in rallies Tuesday.