NEW DELHI: Outgoing Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is going to stay the course and prepare the ground for the BJP’s 2019 poll battle. He will lead the party’s statewide Aabhar Yatra (thanksgiving tour) in the new year with an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The yatra will see Chouhan travel across the state by road. It’s likely to start from the Vindhya region, which is considered a Congress stronghold but was swept by the saffron party in the recent Assembly elections.
While confirming the yatra, Chouhan ruled out shifting to national politics. “I won’t go to the centre, I was born in MP, will live here and die here only,” he told journalists after meeting party workers at state party headquarters in Bhopal. According to BJP sources in Bhopal, the Aabhar Yatra, which is likely to start after Makar Sankranti on January 14, will be an attempt to reconnect with the masses as well as party workers and express gratitude to them for their support in the state polls.
The BJP holds 26 out of the 29 Lok Sabha seats in the state, but if the results of the recently held assembly polls are to be factored in, then the saffron party could lose around 10 seats in the general election. Sources said the reason behind starting the Aabhar Yatra from the Vindhya region is that the BJP won 24 out of the 30 seats at stake, while the Congress could win only 6 seats. The Congress bigwigs who lost the polls in the region included leader of opposition and four-time sitting MLA Ajay Singh (Arjun Singh’s son) and deputy speaker in the outgoing Assembly Rajendra Singh.
The Aabhar Yatra and Chouhan’s clear-cut message of staying active in MP politics clearly suggests that he will be the face of the BJP in the state despite the party not being able to win the recent Assembly polls. According to sources, Chouhan could be elected the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly. Speculations are also rife that he would contest the next Lok Sabha polls from Vidisha, currently the parliamentary constituency of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
‘Will live & die in MP’
“I won’t go to the centre, I was born in MP, will live here and die here only,” outgoing MP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan told journalists after meeting party workers at state party headquarters in Bhopal