Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will determine the occupant of the Madhya Pradesh chief minister’s role only after the elections. This statement seemed to avoid directly addressing inquiries about whether the current chief minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, will retain his position.
These comments have been made amidst the party’s ongoing campaign for the upcoming polls, which are anticipated to take place in November. Notably, the party has initiated its campaign without officially announcing a candidate for the chief minister’s position.
“Shivraj ji holds the position of the chief minister. Determining the post is a responsibility of our party, and we will make that decision,” responded Shah when questioned by journalists about whether Chouhan would continue as the chief minister if the BJP secures victory in the elections.
Shah went on to say, “Currently, Shivraj ji is the chief minister while we are in the midst of elections. The party will fulfil its obligations accordingly. I urge you to communicate to the public the accomplishments achieved under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan so that development can be established as a prominent agenda for the upcoming elections.”
During the launch of the ‘Garib Kalyan Maha Abhiyan’ and the presentation of a report card detailing the state government’s achievements over the past two decades, the Union minister hinted that Prime Minister Modi would play a central role in the party’s campaign. This implies that PM Modi is set to be a prominent figure in the upcoming campaign.
Certainly, the BJP typically refrains from announcing its Chief Ministerial candidate before elections in states where it is in the opposition. In states where the BJP is in power, the incumbent Chief Minister is usually considered the frontrunner for the position if the party retains power. However, senior party officials have indicated that the final decision on the Chief Minister is made by the BJP’s parliamentary board, which is the party’s highest decision-making body after the election results are known.
Explaining his focus on listing India’s achievements under the Modi government, Amit Shah mentioned that he is doing so because the people of Madhya Pradesh need to decide whether the state should be associated with alleged scandals from the past or with top ranks in terms of development for the next five years. This statement reflects the emphasis on the party’s performance and the potential impact of the upcoming election on the state’s direction.
A senior BJP official, who preferred to remain anonymous, noted that, unlike the assembly elections of 2008, 2013, and 2018, the party has not yet announced a Chief Ministerial candidate in the form of Chouhan. The source also indicated that there are clear signals suggesting that the party intends to maintain this approach leading up to the elections.
Senior Congress leader Shobha Oza expressed her view by stating, “It’s evident that Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has lost his credibility among the people of Madhya Pradesh. The BJP leadership is also well aware of the significant scandals that have occurred under his administration, including the Vyapam scam and the recent Patwari exam scam. Consequently, the BJP leadership seems hesitant to declare him as the face of the Chief Minister to avoid aggravating the public’s sentiment. Regardless, according to her, the BJP is unlikely to remain in power after the upcoming elections.”