Surprising political developments unfolded in Madhya Pradesh as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) revealed its unexpected choice for the new Chief Minister – Mohan Yadav, a 58-year-old leader hailing from the Yadav Other Backward Classes (OBC) community. Despite OBCs constituting over half of the state’s population, the Yadav community holds a relatively less influential position.
The announcement came on Monday evening, 15 days after the BJP’s decisive victory over the Congress in Madhya Pradesh. Mohan Yadav, the outgoing Higher Education Minister, expressed his gratitude to the party, acknowledging his humble beginnings, saying, “I am a small party worker… I thank the party for this opportunity.”
Following his election as the leader of the BJP’s legislative party, Mohan Yadav, adorned with garlands, addressed the meeting of the Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). He expressed his gratitude to the state and central leadership, pledging to fulfill his responsibilities with the support and love of the party members.
Immediately after the BJP’s announcement, Mohan Yadav met with Governor Mangubhai Patel, staking his claim to form the next government. The nomination of Mohan Yadav by the outgoing Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, a four-time head of the state government, was seen as a move emphasizing unity. Other senior leaders, including former union ministers Prahlad Patel and Narendra Singh Tomar, as well as National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, supported the proposal, according to VD Sharma, the BJP’s state unit boss.
In a bid to foster unity and prepare for the 2024 Lok Sabha election, the BJP also appointed two deputy chief ministers – Jagdish Devda and Rajesh Shukla. Both had significant electoral victories, with Devda securing the Malhagarh seat by nearly 60,000 votes and Shukla winning the Rewa seat for the fifth time by around 21,000 votes. Both Devda and Shukla had previously held cabinet positions in Chouhan governments.
Despite speculations about other contenders for the chief ministerial post, including Union Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and Prahlad Patel, Mohan Yadav emerged as the unexpected choice. Shortly after Yadav’s announcement, Shivraj Chouhan congratulated his successor, signaling a smooth transition of power. Chouhan praised Yadav as a hard-working individual.
Mohan Yadav, a three-time MLA from Ujjain, represents the end of the political road for his predecessor in the state, Shivraj Chouhan. Chouhan, a four-time Chief Minister and a prominent BJP leader in the state, seemed to have been sidelined in favor of a campaign centered on “collective leadership” around Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s face.
The strategy proved successful as the BJP secured 163 out of 230 seats, while the Congress, which had won the 2018 election but lost its government two years later, was left with only 66 seats, a significant drop from its previous count of 114.
Mohan Yadav’s appointment as Chief Minister also signifies the end of an era for Shivraj Chouhan, who had been a stalwart in Madhya Pradesh politics. Despite his extensive contributions and four terms as Chief Minister, Chouhan appeared to take a backseat in this election, with the BJP opting for a campaign highlighting “collective leadership.”
Chouhan’s popularity had been a crucial factor in previous electoral victories, thanks to various welfare schemes, including the ‘Ladli Behna Yojana,’ which had become his flagship initiative. The BJP’s triumphant result, however, defied predictions from several exit polls that anticipated a close race between the BJP and the Congress.
Mohan Yadav’s wife expressed her joy and gratitude, attributing her husband’s elevation to the divine, thanking Lord Shiva for this significant milestone in his political career. As Madhya Pradesh enters a new chapter with Mohan Yadav at the helm, the political landscape continues to evolve, reflecting the dynamic nature of Indian politics and the ever-changing preferences of the electorate.
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