PM Narendra Modi with BJP President JP Nadda, Union Minister Amit Shah and other leaders at the Parliament House in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)
The BJP, which has announced central observers for the three states, is in a hurry because from December 16 starts Malmas, also known as Kharmas — an inauspicious time when all auspicious activities are forbidden
The central observers for Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh, where the BJP recently won elections, were announced on Friday, and they will be scrambled by Saturday to the respective states, say party sources. The chief ministerial picks for all three states are likely to be announced by the BJP by Monday and the party wants to wrap up the swearing-in exercise by December 15.
The Bharatiya Janata Party is in a hurry because from December 16 starts Malmas, also known as Kharmas — an inauspicious time when all auspicious activities are forbidden. If the BJP misses this date, it will have to wait another month when the period ends on January 15.
The BJP legislature party meeting has been called on Monday in Bhopal at 4 pm. Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Dr K Laxman, and Asha Lakra will be overseeing the entire process of electing the leader of the legislature party. If the BJP sources in Delhi are to be believed, the CM designate of Madhya Pradesh is likely to be announced by Monday evening itself. The party this time did not go to the election with incumbent chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s face and got a massive mandate of 163 seats out of 199. Meanwhile, a photo of former union minister Prahlad Singh Patel with Chouhan is going viral on social media.
The BJP has set the date for the legislature party meeting in Chhattisgarh on Sunday where union ministers Arjun Munda, Sarbananda Sonowal, and Dushyant Kumar Gautam will be scrambled to oversee the process of electing the leader of the legislature party. It is widely speculated that Dr Raman Singh, who was the chief minister of Chhattisgarh till 2018, won’t be repeated. While the BJP is said to be keen on an OBC or tribal chief ministerial face, the party isn’t sensing any opposition from Dr Singh. The BJP sprung a surprise in the state where it won 54 seats, ousting the Bhupesh Baghel government.
However, the BJP is sending its most seasoned and widely accepted leader — defence minister Rajnath Singh — to Rajasthan as the observer, probably sensing the tricky situation the state may prove to be in. Saroj Pandey and Vinod Tawde will be accompanying him. While the legislature party meeting is not yet convened, sources say it is unlikely to happen before Sunday.
Here, Singh’s expertise as a master troubleshooter will be tested since Vasundhara Raje will not let go of the top job — if someone else is chosen — as easily as Shivraj Singh Chouhan or Raman Singh if asked to make room. Nearly 25 newly elected BJP MLAs recently went and met Raje in what was seen as muscle-flexing by her.
What’s more, BJP MLA Lalit Meena’s father alleged that his son and five other legislators were kept at a resort by Raje’s son Dushyant Singh, which further complicated the matter. On Thursday night, she along with her son met party president JP Nadda for over an hour in Delhi. Now, it is still unclear whether it is to communicate that she will be on the hot seat or she will have to go along with the party’s decision to go with a fresh face.
The BJP won a massive 115 seats in Rajasthan. Like the other two states, the party went to the election without a CM candidate, only projecting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s face.
But one thing is increasingly certain, the chief ministerial names for all three states are likely to be out by Monday and the BJP will go with an immediate swearing-in ceremony.