The BJP has, in keeping with experiences, determined to struggle the election in Madhya Pradesh, due later this 12 months, underneath the captainship of Shivraj Singh Chouhan. This ends months of hypothesis a few “Chief Minister shuffle” within the state.
Shivraj Chouhan, aka “Mama (uncle)”, is the longest-serving Chief Minister (16 years plus) of Madhya Pradesh. He’s additionally the BJP’s longest-serving Chief Minister throughout states.
There has lengthy been a buzz about Shivraj Chouhan’s alternative by somebody youthful, a recent face, like in Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Tripura, to offset native disenchantment.
The “drop Shivraj” brigade has been citing the instance of Himachal, the lone state the place the celebration did not change its Chief Minister and misplaced to the Congress.
There was a time when Mama was thought of Prime Minister materials. That was earlier than Narendra Modi.
Through the years, Shivraj Chouhan has mellowed, however regardless of his lengthy tenure, his recognition hasn’t pale.
He’s identified to be right down to earth, and affable. These attributes, together with pro-poor schemes like Laadli Laxmi, Teerth Darshan and Kisan Kalyan Yojana, have stored him forward of rivals.
There could also be dissatisfaction on the bottom because of the inaccessibility or non-performance of BJP MLAs, however that anger shouldn’t be singed Mama, who has constructed a robust ladies’s vote block.
Apart from, Shivraj Chouhan is 64, “match” and does not but fall within the 75-plus class through which redundancy is an actual menace. At the very least within the BJP. He is without doubt one of the few Vajpayee-Advani period politicians who has stood the check of time and has even survived within the Modi-Shah period. He has managed to construct an aura of indispensability.
The most important consider Shivraj’s favour is that he belongs to the OBC (Different Backward Class) neighborhood. OBCs account for greater than half the inhabitants of Madhya Pradesh and Shivraj is the tallest OBC chief, throughout events.
Over the previous 9 years, the BJP has projected itself because the champion of the backwards, buoyed by the truth that Prime Minister Modi belongs to the neighborhood. The celebration claims OBCs have the best illustration within the Modi cupboard. In state and nationwide elections, the BJP makes it some extent to say the way it has picked a lot of OBC candidates.
OBC assist for the BJP has doubled on the nationwide degree, from 23 per cent in 2009 to 44 per cent within the 2019 basic election, per the Centre for Examine of Growing Societies (CSDS). Within the Hindi heartland states, this backing has created a brand new “non-Yadav OBC vote block”, which has facilitated the BJP’s win two consecutive elections in Uttar Pradesh.
Shivraj Chouhan is maybe the BJP’s solely OBC chief minister throughout India. The celebration is in energy in 11 states by itself and in 5 states in alliance with regional events. Changing him would present the celebration in poor mild.
A majority of its Chief Ministers in the present day belong to the higher caste (Brahmin, Thakur) or center caste (Maratha, Patidar, Khatri, Vaishya) communities. Changing Shivraj Chouhan could be unhealthy optics certainly – the celebration could be perceived to make the most of OBC votes and nonetheless favour the higher castes for high posts”.
The highest contenders for Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister are Narottam Mishra (state Residence Minister) and state BJP chief VD Sharma, each Brahmins. Jyotiraditya Scindia belongs to a royal household and Kailash Vijayvargiya is from the buying and selling neighborhood.
If the celebration replaces Shivraj, it wants a robust OBC face. He is probably not a favorite of the Modi-Shah duo, however electoral compulsions appear to have saved Shivraj. One other seemingly OBC candidate is Prahlad Patel, a Minister of State in Modi’s cupboard, who could not make the reduce as he lacks state-wide enchantment.
That mentioned, it does not imply Mama could have a free run in selecting candidates or managing the Madhya Pradesh marketing campaign. It is common data that Shivraj has been underneath numerous stress in his newest time period, from rivals; from Congress hoppers who facilitated his return simply earlier than the lockdown in 2020; and from the BJP excessive command.
The TINA (There Is No Various) Issue has labored for Mama. His inventory will rise exponentially if he is ready to win the state for the BJP once more, propelling him to a big nationwide function in Modi 3.O if the BJP retains energy on the Centre.
(Amitabh Tiwari is a political strategist and commentator. In his earlier avatar he was a company and funding banker.)
Disclaimer: These are the private opinions of the creator.