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Race for new Madhya Pradesh CM: Shivraj Chouhan favourite, Narendra Tomar emerges as strong contender

An influential section of the state BJP was abuzz with the possibility of Tomar, a former state unit president, being chosen by the central party leadership as the new CM but there is no confirmation.

Published: 23rd March 2020 04:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd March 2020 12:07 PM   |  A+A-

Former Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan

Former Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan | (File | PTI)

By Express News Service

BHOPAL: Two days after Chief Minister Kamal Nath resigned ahead of Supreme Court-directed floor test in the Vidhan Sabha, it’s still not clear when the BJP will stake claim to form the new government and under whom.

While former CM Shivraj Chouhan continues to be the frontrunner for the CM’s post, the name of union agriculture minister Narendra Tomar has emerged as a strong contender.

An influential section of the state BJP was abuzz with the possibility of Tomar, a former state unit president, being chosen by the central party leadership as the new CM but there is no confirmation.

BJP sources claim the fact that out of the 25 assembly by-polls which have to be held fall in the Chambal-Gwalior region from where Tomar hails and is home to Narottam Mishra, present state party president VD Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia’s ex-minister aunt Yashodhara Raje Scindia.

His proximity to them and PM Modi is a plus.

However, with state party president VD Sharma and Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava (both Brahmins) already being from the upper caste, appointing Tomar (a Kshatriya) might not go down well with the OBC, SC and ST leaders of the BJP.

Importantly, all the last three BJP chief ministers in the state – Uma Bharti, Babulal Gaur and Shivraj Chouhan – hail from the OBC segment, which forms half of the state’s population.

Meanwhile, perhaps knowing well that Tomar is emerging as a threat to his chief ministerial chances, former CM Shivraj Chouhan (who ruled MP between 2005 and 2018) has been aggressively arguing his case and has already talked to PM Modi over the phone about the coronavirus situation in MP, besides addressing Chief Secretary M Gopal Reddy and DGP Vivek Johri on Sunday to enquire about preparedness.

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