With the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh collapsing, several names are doing the rounds on who could lead the next BJP government as Chief Minister. Party sources said that while former CM and BJP vice-president Shivraj Singh Chouhan appears to be leading the race, the BJP leadership could also come up with a surprise choice.
On Friday evening, Chouhan cancelled a meeting of BJP legislators he had called at his residence, citing the coronavirus outbreak. Party leaders claimed that the meeting called at Chouhan’s residence was informal and that the date of the official legislature party meeting would be announced later.
Earlier, there was speculation that the party would decide the Chief Minister’s name on Friday, but by evening it was clear that the process would take a couple of days.
“If we wanted, we could have formed the government in 2018, but we are not in the game of installing or uninstalling governments,’’ said Chouhan. The BJP had polled more votes in the state polls than the Congress, but won five fewer seats.
Chouhan’s decision to invite the party MLAs was seen as an assertion of his claim for the Chief Minister’s post. On numerous occasions, he has made it clear that he is comfortable in state politics.
A section of party leaders is opposed to Chouhan being appointed again on the ground that he has occupied the chair for a long time and that the party lost the 2018 election.
Asked if Chouhan’s name had been finalised for the Chief Minister post, former minister Narottam Mishra said the decision will be taken by the high command because “the organisation, not individuals, is the deciding authority”. Mishra, too, is one of the contenders for the Chief Minister post. Union Minister Narendra Tomar, also believed to be among the contenders, claimed on Friday that he was not in the race.
Both Mishra and Tomar belong to the Gwalior region to which former Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, now the BJP candidate for Rajya Sabha from MP, belongs.
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