“Nandu Bhaiya (BJP MP head Nandkumar Singh Chauhan) has urged me to relieve him of his responsibilities in the party so that he could focus on his parliamentary constituency (Khandwa),” CM Chouhan told the media at Khargone on Tuesday. I have urged him to continue on his post and let’s see whether he accepts my request, he added giving ample hints that change of guard was imminent.
Earlier in the day, Chouhan had claimed that situation on party state president would be clear by Wednesday morning. Fueling the speculations further, the BJP has convened three crucial meetings on Tuesday. In the first one, party office-bearers met. The second meeting would comprise members of core committee that includes union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, a frontrunner for the post of state president, and the third one is a cabinet meeting to be chaired by CM Chouhan at CM House late evening.
Congress took a dig at BJP as soon as the CM’s remarks were reported in media. “The party state head has failed to fulfill the tasks assigned by the party high command time and again so the party is concerned about assembly elections,” Congress spokesperson Bhupendra Gupta told News18.
Rajnish Agrawal, the BJP spokesperson shot back saying the Congress should better take care of its own affairs. On possible removal of Chauhan, he claimed that BJP was a cadre-based party and party high-command decides which person should shoulder which responsibility.
However, party insiders have claimed that party high command was taking internal feedback on Chauhan for long and the reports were not too encouraging as Chauhan’s hold on the party was not up to the mark. Interestingly the party seniors were seen fighting on public platforms on several occasions and several leaders kept embarrassing the party with their unrestrained remarks.
Besides, successive defeats in last four by-polls namely –Ater, Chitrakoot, Mungaoli and Kolaras also did not go in Chauhan’s favour. Plus, in the 19 municipal polls held in last few years, the Congress managed to give tough fight to the BJP which also set alarm bells ringing for the party.
Chauhan’s irresponsible statements also put the party on sticky wicket more often than not. Meanwhile, those in the contention for the post include CM Chouhan’s close aide and the home minister Bhupendra Singh, cabinet ministers Lal Singh Arya, Narottam Mishra, Rajendra Shukla, union minister Kailash Vijayvargiya and union minister Narendra Singh Tomar who once made a promising pair with CM Chouhan in MP politics.
Given his proximity with the party chief Amit Shah, Narottam Mishra is considered frontrunner for the post.
In the wake of Dalit resentment and violent protests during Bharat Bandh, the party could well choose Lal Singh Arya who represents this community. However, possible removal of the state president barely six months before assembly polls indicate that all was not well in Madhya Pradesh BJP, said a political analyst from MP who did not want to be named.