The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to select its Chief Minister for Madhya Pradesh today (11 December).
This decision on the BJP CM in MP is likely to be taken during the legislature party meeting, which is scheduled for today evening in the state capital Bhopal and will be overseen by the party's three central observers.
Following the selection of tribal leader, Vishnu Deo Sai, as the Chief Minister in Chhattisgarh, party insiders and political analysts believe that the likelihood of choosing a candidate from the other backward classes (OBCs) in Madhya Pradesh has risen.
Current Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is also an OBC, along with Prahlad Singh Patel, another leader from the same community who recently stepped down as a Union Minister, are being considered among the leading contenders for the top post.
In last month’s Assembly election, the BJP won a massive majority with 163 seats. The Congress, which was hoping to wrest power in the State, could only manage 66 seats.
After the election results, several individuals have emerged as potential candidates for the Chief Minister position.
Apart from the two OBC leaders, others in the race for the post include, Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, who switched from Congress to BJP in 2020 and was instrumental in the downfall of the 15-month Congress government in Madhya Pradesh, Narendra Singh Tomar, who recently stepped down from the Union Cabinet, and BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya.
Except for Scindia, all these candidates have contested and won seats in the state election.
Meanwhile, Vijayvargiya paid a visit to Chouhan at his official residence just a day prior to the meeting of MLAs.
In the last few days, Vijayvargiya has been subtly downplaying the contribution of Chouhan's flagship Ladli Behna Scheme to the BJP's victory, instead attributing the win to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership and the strategic planning of the BJP's central leadership.
Following the decision in Chhattisgarh, the appointment of an OBC leader as CM in MP is highly likely, but it also hinges on the party's selection of a Chief Minister in Rajasthan, The Hindu reported citing a source in the state BJP.
Expressing uncertainty over the final decision of the party's high command, the sources suggested that if a Rajput leader is chosen in Rajasthan, an OBC leader would be the "natural choice" in MP.
However, if the party opts for a non-Rajput leader such as Mahant Balak Nath in Rajasthan, there could be a Rajput Chief Minister in Bhopal, the leader explained.
Several Rajput leaders are among the contenders in Rajasthan for the CM post, including the former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia and Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
It should be noted that BJP's legislature party meeting to elect Rajasthan CM is slated for Tuesday (12 December).
The leader did not dismiss the chance that the party might continue to support Chouhan, considering the upcoming Lok Sabha election next year.
“He is a sitting CM and the party has won over 160 seats. So, it is very much likely that he is given another short tenure till the Lok Sabha polls,” the leader added, highlighting Chouhan’s hold over the women voters of the State.
The BJP's State unit, in its invitation for the legislative party gathering, has recommended that MLAs refrain from sharing their views with the media prior to the meeting. The meeting is slated to commence at 3.50 pm at the party's state headquarters in Bhopal.
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