BHOPAL: Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan ruled out that he was in the race for becoming the next Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha.“It’s the party that will decide who will be the LoP, but I’m not in the race for that post,” Chouhan made it clear at an informal chat with journalists in Bhopal on Friday.
Importantly, the LoP will be elected by the new 109 BJP legislators at a meeting in Bhopal on Sunday, where Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and party national vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe will be present.
With Chouhan making it clear that he was not in the LoP’s race, the other names doing the rounds are Gopal Bhargava, the ex-minister and eight-time sitting MLA from Rehli seat of Sagar district, ex-MP parliamentary affairs minister and Datia MLA Narottam Mishra and former MP minister and Rewa MLA Rajendra Shukla.
Ex-home and transport minister and sitting MLA from Khurai seat Bhupendra Singh (a close confidant of Chouhan) and former Vidhan Sabha speaker Sitasaran Sharma, who defeated ex-union minister Sartaj Singh from Hoshangabad seat in recent Assembly polls are also said to be in contention.
Speculation is now rife that Chouhan might be fielded in the Lok Sabha polls from Vidisha seat (at present represented by minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj).
Chouhan had represented Vidisha in the Lok Sabha five times between 1991 and 2006. Also, rumours are rife that Chouhan’s supporters want his wife Sadhna Singh (who is the national president of All India Kirar Mahasabha, the national body of the OBC caste to which Chouhan belongs) to be fielded from Vidisha parliamentary seat, as Chouhan after the Assembly polls had maintained that he doesn’t want to go to the centre. “I was born in MP, will live here and breathe last here only,” Chouhan had said after the BJP failed to make it to power recently after ruling the state for 15 years.