By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2023-12-10 09:01:56
Even a week after the results were announced for the state elections, the BJP has not been able to select candidates to head its governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. This is one of the drawbacks of not declaring a chief ministerial face before the elections to cash in on the vote-catching prowess of Prime Minister Modi.
The indication from the party headquarters is that the high command is thinking of affecting a generational shift in leadership in the three states. For a long time now, leaders like Shivraj Singh Chouhan in MP, Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan and Raman Singh in Chhattisgarh have been at the helm of affairs. There is a strong second level leadership in each of these states which is now yearning for its place in the Sun. But the problem there is that once the stalwarts are cancelled out for the top post, there are multiple candidates in each state. Although the BJP has a tradition where the party high command's fiat (which decision is obviously taken by the state observers after talking to all the MLAs and then ratified by the troika of PM Modi, Amit Shah and party president J P Nadda) is not contested by any of the other aspirants, the party has to tread carefully in selecting the best leader to head the government.
In Rajasthan, the party is looking at the claims of Diya Kumari, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Baba Balaknath, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Kirori Lal Meena and C P Joshi, apart from stalwart Vasundhara Raje. In MP, the frontrunners are Kailash Vijayvargiya, Narendra Singh Tomar and Jyotiraditya Scindia and of course Shivraj Singh Chouhan. In Chhattisgarh, the party has the old warhorse Raman Singh who is facing a challenge from Renuka Singh and Arun Sao. The party has appointed observers for each state and a decision is likely by Monday.
It might also be possible that if the party goes for a generational shift, the stalwarts from these states might be accommodated in the Union cabinet. There will be a reshuffle of the Union cabinet as some of the hopefuls are Union ministers. For instance, if either Narendra Singh Tomar or Jyotiraditya Scindia is appointed chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan might be shifted to Delhi. If that happens, all three states will see new faces as chief ministers.