BHOPAL: Shivraj Singh Chouhan is back in the hot seat and is holding the reins of Madhya Pradesh once again after nearly three weeks of political melodrama that preceded his anointment as the Chief Minister of the state here last night. This is his fourth stint as Chief Minister of the state.
Governor Lalji Tandon administered the oath of office and secrecy as the 19th Chief Minister of the state to Shivraj Singh Chouhan here in Raj Bhavan. The swearing-in ceremony was conducted by Chief Secretary M. Gopal Reddy. Former Chief Ministers Kamal Nath and Ms Uma Bharti, BJP MLAs and other officials were present at the swearing-in ceremony.
In the wake of corona virus threat, only a few VVIPs were present at the swearing-in, while the media was not allowed entry at the event. No BJP leader from Delhi travelled to Bhopal for the legislature party meeting, though the party’s central observers Arun Singh and Vinay Sahasrabuddhe participated through video conferencing.
Curfew clamped in Bhopal & Jabalpur
Chief Minister Chouhan after taking over the reins held meeting with top government and police officials to take stock of the situation with emphasis on Corona virus pandemic. Thereafter, late in the night he announced that curfew would be clamped on Bhopal and Jabalpur from March 24 where Corona virus affected patients have been found. He said, “Curfew is an unpleasant decision but it is necessitated to save people’s lives. The government will make arrangements for the supply of all essential commodities to people.”
Meanwhile, Chouhan had to step down after the Congress won a narrow majority in the December 2018 Legislative Assembly elections, after which the Kamal Nath government came to power.
Stumped by the rebellion of party colleague Jyodiraditya Scindia, who joined the BJP and resignations of 22 Congress MLAs, Nath resigned as chief minister on March 20, 2020, paving the way for Chouhan’s return.
First, Chouhan became CM on November 29, 2005, second time on December 12, 2008 and for third term on December 14, 2013. Earlier, on Monday evening, Chouhan was elected as BJP Legislative Party’s leader at a meeting held at the State BJP headquarters.
Having elected as Chief Minister designate, Chouhan called on his party men saying it is not a time for any celebration but to fight off Corona virus scare. As the BJP legislative party meet held in Bhopal on Monday evening, senior leader Gopal Bhargav proposed Chouhan’s name and several MLAs, including former Minister Narottam Mishra, seconded his name. Soon after central observers — Vinay Sahastrabuddhe and Arun Singh, attending the meeting through video conferencing announced that Chouhan has been named the leader of BJP Legislative Party.
Chouhan in his address straightaway launched a stinging assault on outgoing Congress Government claiming that the Congress government completely destroyed the State in 15 months of rule.
Meanwhile, a political crisis erupted in the state after Congress’ Jyotiraditya Scindia resigned from the party and joined the BJP. Along with Scindia, 22 MLAs — including six ministers in the Kamal Nath cabinet — also resigned from the Congress which led to the collapse of the Congress government in the state.
Following the development, the Supreme Court ordered a floor test in the Assembly. Nath, however, resigned from the government on March 20. Before submitting his resignation, Nath addressed a press conference and alleged that 22 Congress MLAs were held captive in Bengaluru by the BJP, which has been witnessed by the entire country.
Addressing the Press conference Nath had said: “Over the last 15 months, I have worked for the progress of Madhya Pradesh. BJP got 15 years but I only got 15 months, but during this time people of Madhya Pradesh know the conspiracy that BJP has indulged in. From day one, BJP began plotting. The party also held our MLAs captive in Karnataka. 22 of our MLAs were held captive in Bengaluru”.
Scindia, however, made a scathing attack at Nath, calling his resignation ‘people’s victory’. He said that he has always believed that politics should be a medium of serving people.
Meanwhile, during the political crisis the Congress faced in the state, Chouhan took the lead and continued to attack the government. It was he who filed the petition in the Supreme Court last Monday along with nine other MLAs seeking directions to issue an order to the Speaker of the state assembly to conduct a floor test.
Gopal Bhargava, Leader of the Opposition in Madhya Pradesh, was one of the aspirants for the chief minister’s post. The names of Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Thaverchand Gehlot, Narottam Mishra, the chief whip of the legislature party, and Kailash Vijayvargiya, the BJP national vice-president, were doing the rounds.
Chouhan delivered some of the highest growth rates and Madhya Pradesh saw a boom in production. He positioned himself as ‘Mamaji’, a benevolent, paternal figure looking out for citizens, especially the women and the young. He also delivered a range welfare schemes to different social groups.
All of this helped Chouhan construct a wide social coalition of upper castes, who had traditionally been with the party, Other Backward Classes (OBC) to which Chouhan himself belongs and segments of Dalits and tribals. This helped him win in 2008 and 2013 elections.