BJP braces for weekend CM tests

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The BJP risks inviting popular indignation if the top brass of the party denies chief ministerial post to Shivraj Singh Chauahn.

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, December 7: Amid high voltage drama unfolding in Rajasthan, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to seal the decision making process on chief ministers of winning states in the Assembly elections by this weekend. While the top brass of the BJP may have already made up their minds on the chief ministerial nominees, the party could be watching out for the trouble makers.

Leading the race for the hot seat for a record fifth term Shivraj Singh Chauhan told reporters in Bhopal that the decision for the chief minister’s post will be made by the party leadership. This is an appropriate statement on the part of the incumbent chief minister who had been squaring off against an endemic Damocles’ sword hanging over his leadership in the state for at least five years. His nomination in the Assembly elections also came in the fourth list of the BJP. The political commentators by then had already announced that it was time for Chauhan to make a way for a new leadership in Madhya Pradesh.  

Having beaten his rivan and senior Congress leader Kamal Nath in seeking the blessings of Mahakal in Ujjain, Chauhan is widely being credited for an avalanche of votes for the BJP after he played the ‘Ladli’ emotional card with the women voters. The BJP risks inviting popular indignation if the top brass of the party denies chief ministerial post to Chauahn. Yet, the BJP by making Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar the chief of the campaign committee had made it clear that the party is looking beyond Chauhan.

The political observers don’t deny the likelihood of a package deal by which Chauhan may stay in the office until the Lok Sabha elections in the company of two deputies and then shifts base to New Delhi as a Union Minister. While such a prospect may not be to the liking of Chauhan (64), it could be a blessing in disguise for him as well because age is on his side to allow him in the reckoning of “After Modi Who” debate.

Having been one of the longest serving chief ministers and also the Lok Sabha membership stints under his belt, Chauhan, who was reportedly the BJP patriarch LK Advani’s choice for the 2014 PM face, may get the backing of the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh. Union Minister Rajnath Singh, 72, may have played his best of the political innings as he has already ceded the Uttar Pradesh base to incumbent state Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

The BJP may find it an easy task to pick the CM nominee in Chhattisgarh with former chief minister Raman Singh, currently vice president of the party, has shown amenble to the commands of the top brass. Vasundhara Raje may test the skills of the top brass of the BJP if the party decides to thrust a new face in the hot seat in UP. Already allegations have been levelled against her son Dushyant Singh of allegedly confining a few of the BJP MLAs in a resort on Wednesday evening. Yet, the prospect that she may split the state BJP legislature party and join hands with Ashok Gehlot to form a government in Rajasthan may be too ambitious. The MLAs may weigh longevity of their career, which will be served better with the BJP, to their loyalties to Raje.

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