Suspense over Chhattisgarh CM to end as BJP MLAs to meet on Sundaytext_fields
Raipur: Chhattisgarh's 54 newly elected members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will meet to choose the party's leader on Sunday, who will become the next Chief Minister.
It is likely that following the meeting, the speculation about the chief minister will stop. The assembly elections were held last month, but the saffron party had not yet announced the candidate for chief minister.
“The BJP’s legislative party meeting will be held on Sunday. The party’s three observers – Union ministers Arjun Munda and Sarbananda Sonowal, and party general secretary Dushyant Kumar Gautam – will be present in the meeting,” the party's state unit president Arun Sao told reporters on Saturday.
BJP’s Chhattisgarh in-charge Om Mathur, Union minister Mansukh Mandaviya and party co-incharge for the state Nitin Nabin will also be present there, he added.
While the BJP won 54 of the 90 seats in the state, the Congress, which had won 68 seats in 2018, was reduced to 35 seats. The Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP) managed to win one seat in the assembly elections.
It is being speculated that the BJP would go for an OBC or a tribal chief minister if it doesn’t pick party stalwart Raman Singh, who had served as CM thrice from 2003 to 2018.
Former Union minister Vishnu Deo, Renuka Singh, who resigned as Union minister after being elected as an MLA, former state ministers Ramvichar Netam and Lata Usendi, and Gomti Sai, who resigned as an MP after being elected to the assembly, are being seen as contenders from the tribal community.
Tribal communities account for 32 per cent of the state’s population, and the BJP won 17 of the 29 seats reserved for the Scheduled Tribes (ST) this time. One tribal candidate of the party also won from the unreserved Premnagar seat in Surajpur district. Notably, the BJP had won only three seats reserved for the tribals in 2018.
The BJP swept the tribal-dominated Surguja division – the Congress had won all 14 seats in the division in 2018 – which is being seen as the key to its stunning victory in the state. Vishnudeo Sai, Renuka Singh, Ramvichar Netam and Gomti Sai hail from this division.
State BJP chief Sao, who too resigned as an MP after being elected as an MLA, and bureaucrat-turned-politician O P Choudhary, both from Other Backward Classes (OBC), are also among potential CM candidates.
Sao hails from the influential Sahu (Teli) community which has a sizable presence in the Durg, Raipur and Bilaspur divisions. The OBCs account for around 45 per cent of the state’s population.
With PTI inputs