Highlights

  • Madhya Pradesh's CM-designate is 3-time MLA Mohan Yadav
  • First-time MLA Bhajan Lal Sharma is BJP's chief ministerial pick in Rajasthan
  • Former union minister Vishnu Deo Sai is the CM-designate in Chhattisgarh

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Decoding BJP's choice of chief ministers in Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh

The BJP's choice of the chief ministers in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh sends out two clear messages. One, rewarding organisational experience and loyalty, and second, social signalling. 

Decoding BJP's choice of chief ministers in Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh

The BJP's decision to name first-time MLA Bhajan Lal Sharma as its chief ministerial pick in Rajasthan may have surprised many but the choice is a tribute to dedicated organisational workers, a quality which along with social signalling figured in picking chief ministers for two other states as well, top functionaries of the party said.

In a post-poll scenario where the BJP top brass believed it had the mandate to usher in a new line of leadership amid claims of many entrenched satraps, more so in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, it has opted for fresh faces whose elevation will enthuse its ordinary workers, sources said.

A senior BJP leader noted that Sharma fitted the bill of an ideal 'karyakarta' toiling for the organisation for decades who campaigned diligently for the party in many states during a series of assembly polls across the country over the last many years.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi often emphasising in BJP's meetings for its members to work sincerely without hankering for position, the elevation of the likes of Sharma and Madhya Pradesh chief minister-elect Mohan Yadav has sent out the message that the leadership means what it says, party sources said.

While Yadav has been a three-term MLA and a minister in the state, he lacked the public profile that many seasoned party leaders such as Narendra Singh Tomar and Prahlad Singh Patel besides the outgoing chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had.

Even in Chhattisgarh, the incoming chief minister Vishnu Deo Sai may have a vast legislative experience as multi-term MP and MLA but he was not seen as a frontrunner, more so as the tribal leader was replaced with OBC face Arun Sao as the party's state president in 2022.

Political considerations driven by social signalling always plays a role but the decision to pick Sai, Yadav and Sharma also sends out a clear message within the organisation and outside, party leaders said.

They hail from ST, OBC and Brahmin community respectively, underlining the party's emphasis on putting together a cohesive social coalition as it gets ready for Lok Sabha polls next year.

A low-key leader, former Union minister Sai was preferred to many hopefuls, including several ST leaders, for the hot seat in the state in a recognition of his decades-long work in the state's tribal regions in line with Hindutva organisation RSS agenda. The BJP swept the tribal region in the recent polls after suffering decimation in 2018.

Sharma is the BJP's choice in a state where many regional heavyweights including Union ministers Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Arjun Ram Meghwal besides former chief minister Vasundhara Raje were in contention.

What all the three new BJP chief ministerial choices have in common is their vast organisational experience and loyalty, carrying out the responsibilities assigned to them by the party leadership.

That they were not seen associated with any regional faction was a plus for them, the sources added, noting that this coupled with their modest profile will also help them in getting along with regional heavyweights.

All the three chief ministers will have two deputy chief ministers coming from different castes, a nod to the BJP's keen eye on social messaging as well.


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