BJP to nail down on CM's name for Madhya Pradesh today: Who's in the fray?
The observers reached the party office at Bhopal and the meeting is likely to begin shortly.
Speculations were rife that the BJP would go for a new line of leadership in all three states and a part of it came true with the announcement of Vishnu Deo Sai as next chief minister in Chhattisgarh. After hectic parleys within the BJP over the last week, the names of the two new CMs in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan continue to remain ambiguous.
The BJP is set to pick a name for Madhya Pradesh today after all three appointed observers Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, national secretary Asha Lakra and Rajya Sabha MP K Laxman convene a legislative party meeting with the newly-elected MLAs. "A meeting of the legislative party will be held today evening. After this, the final decision will be taken by the party high command," Laxman said on the selection of CM. The observers reached the party office at Bhopal.
The BJP did not name a CM face in the run-up to the elections. Its gambit of using collective leadership led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to steer its campaign reaped dividends as the party won the polls by a record margin.
Who is in the fray for Madhya Pradesh's top post?
Shivraj Singh Chouhan
The incumbent and the longest-serving chief minister of Madya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan is known for launching various welfare schemes in his state including the flagship Ladli Laxmi Yojana. He is among the leaders who participated in the underground movement against the Emergency and was imprisoned in Bhopal Jail for it.
He gained his first legislative assembly win in 1990 from Budhni constituency, which became his home turf since then. In his expansive political career, he was elected to the Lok Sabha five times.
His chief ministerial stint began in 2005 when he won a by-election from Budhni constituency and retained the position ever since, except for the 2018 assembly election. He failed to gain a majority in 2018 and resigned as CM, only to return two years later after a faction loyal to then Congress MLA Jyotiraditya Scindia severed ties from the then Kamal Nath-led Congress government.
Another top contender in the mix is Union civil aviation minister Jyortiradity Scindia although he preferred to consider himself out of the fray. He is a popular leader from the state who delivered the key Gwalior-Chambal region to the party though he did not contest the assembly polls. “I have been a BJP worker... and will remain till my last breath... I'm not in chief minister's race,” he told a news channel.
Scindia's political debut happened after the Lok Sabha constituency of Guna fell vacant following his father and former Union minister Madhavrao Scindia's death in an aeroplane crash and was elected to the Lok Sabha a total of four times. He started as a Congress leader and later joined the BJP being disgruntled with the grand old party's leadership.
He was later elected as a Rajya Sabha MP in 2020 and inducted into the Cabinet in 2021.
Narendra Singh Tomar
Former agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar is in talks to possibly become the next CM. While some observers put him as the first choice, some believed him a suitable candidate as an OBC face.
Tomar started as a leader in the BJP's Youth Forum and rose to the ranks of state president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM). He was first elected to the state legislature in 1998. He became an MP for the first time in 2009 and since 2014 he has been holding several portfolios in the BJP-led Union Cabinet.
Former Union minister Prahlad Patel is another top contender for the coveted post. Reports suggest he tops the list among the other contenders. Belonging to Lodhi caste, Patel is also seen as another potential candidate for the OBC CM face.
He became an MP for the first elected to the 9th Lok Sabha in 1989 and then to the 11th Lok Sabha in 1996. He became the member of Parliament for a total of five times.