Chouhan’s long reign in Madhya Pradesh ends: ‘Will die rather than ask for anything for self’
BHOPAL: A close to 17 year reign of Shivraj Singh Chouhan as the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh ended on Monday as the newly elected BJP legislative party elected former higher education minister Mohan Yadav as Chouhan’s surprise successor.
Chouhan submitted resignation to the governor Mangu Bhai Patel late on Monday evening and addressed a press conference at CM House on Tuesday – in sort of a farewell message. Speaking on the occasion, an emotional but composed Chouhan said that rather than asking for anything for himself (from the party top leadership), he would prefer to die.
The statement indicated Chouhan wanted to go out on a high ground after having ran the show – and quite successfully – in Madhya Pradesh for 16 years and 282 days, making him the longest serving BJP chief minister in the country.
Despite pre-poll indications from the party – as no CM face was declared and a collective leadership was propagated – Chouhan apparently was expecting things to turn in his favour as he was instrumental in bringing a huge mandate for the party in the November 2023 polls.
BJP won 163 seats – the third highest in two decades and 48.55 per cent votes – the highest ever in the state. Chouhan, despite being sidelined in a way by party’s top leadership had toured the state extensively to campaign – addressing public meetings in as many as 165 constituencies within 38 days.
He promoted his ambitious scheme – Ladli Behna – and gave credit to the women voters who are beneficiaries of the monthly cash assistance scheme – for the huge win of BJP in the state. He kept repeating the role of Ladli Behna in the win despite other senior leaders totally crediting the massive mandate to magic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Also, even as other CM contenders made a beeline to Delhi to meet top leaders, Chouhan stayed put in the state after the results and started visiting key constituencies where the BJP lost despite the mega win. He continued with the Ladli Behna conventions and reiterated promise that the cash assistance will be gradually increased to Rs 3000 per month, despite fact that the BJP manifesto did not promise any such hike.
Chouhan’s posturing did not help him any and rather he was made to propose the name of Mohan Yadav – a junior minister in his outgoing cabinet – as his successor.
In the farewell press conference, Chouhan promised all support to Yadav and new government, said that his personal bonding with the people – especially his sisters and nephews (as Chouhan is called Bhaiya and Mama) will continue and that he would sincerely undertake any work given by the party.
However, going by the current BJP politics where new faces are constantly brought in to infuse fresh energy into already soaring party – Chouhan might be actually staring at political sunset. There are speculations that he might be made BJP national president or a union minister and made to contest Lok Sabha polls.
But in any other role but the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Chouhan is not likely to flourish as much. Also, the people of Madhya Pradesh – at least the young generation who have always seen him as CM – will have tough time making peace with the fact that finally Mama has bid adieu from the office.