Mohan Yadav, BJP's fresh OBC face with RSS roots, emerges as Madhya Pradesh's next CM

Yadav, a strong proponent of Hindutva, embarks on a political journey from ABVP to the CM office, succeeding Shivraj Chouhan in a surprising turn of events.
BJP MLA Mohan Yadav after being elected as the new Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, at party headquarters in Bhopal on Monday. (Photo | PTI)
BJP MLA Mohan Yadav after being elected as the new Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, at party headquarters in Bhopal on Monday. (Photo | PTI)

BHOPAL: In an unexpected turn of events, state cabinet minister and three-time MLA Mohan Yadav will succeed BJP stalwart Shivraj Singh Chouhan as the next Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. His ascent to the state's top post came as a surprise the saffron party declared him as its legislature party leader during a meeting in Bhopal on Monday, setting the stage for his elevation to the top post in MP.

Hailing from the temple city of Ujjain, the 58-year-old will become the state's fourth chief minister from the OBC community in the last 20 years following the footsteps of Uma Bharti, Babulal Gaur and the party's longest-serving CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Yadav, a staunch Hindutva leader, enjoys the backing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and maintains close ties with senior RSS functionary Suresh Soni. He was born on March 25, 1965, in Ujjain, the city which is synonymous with the famous Mahakaleshwar Temple, one of the 12 Jyotirlings.

In 2020, he became the state's Higher Education Minister when the BJP regained power following the Congress government's collapse. During this period, Yadav gained notoriety for his controversial announcement to make the Hindu epic 'Ramcharitmanas' an optional subject in colleges in 2021. He had also moved a proposal to rename the Hindi nomenclature of the vice-chancellor's post in state universities from 'Kulpati' to 'Kulguru'.

The CM-designate, who holds a doctorate (PhD) in political science besides LLB and MBA degrees, began his political journey with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the RSS, in Ujjain city during the early 1980s.

In 1982, Yadav assumed the role of co-secretary at Madhav Science College Student Union in Ujjain. Two years later, he ascended to the position of President of the same union while concurrently holding the post of city unit secretary for ABVP.

By 1988, he had been appointed as the state co-secretary and a member of the ABVP national executive. Subsequently, he served as the state secretary of ABVP in 1989-90. He then rose to become ABVP's National Secretary in 1991-92 and held the position of RSS Ujjain City's Kshetra Pracharak between 1993 and 1995.

In 2003, as Uma Bharti steered the BJP to a sweeping victory in the state, Yadav received the party ticket for the Badnagar seat in Ujjain district. However, facing protests over being considered an outsider, he decided to relinquish the party ticket.

With the BJP's rise to power in 2003, Yadav went on to serve as the head of the Ujjain Development Authority twice between 2004 and 2010 and served as the chairman of the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (MPTDC) between 2011 and 2013.

In November 2013, Yadav secured his initial victory in the Vidhan Sabha elections, winning from the Ujjain South constituency by a margin exceeding 13,000 votes. He successfully retained the seat in the subsequent elections of 2018 and 2023. Notably, the legislator accomplished the completion of his Ph.D. in political science while serving his inaugural term in office in 2014.

In 2023, he defeated Congress candidate Chetan Yadav by 12,941-plus votes in the recently concluded elections which saw the BJP sweep the state winning 163 out of 230 seats. Yadav made a vow not to enter the Vidhan Sabha premises until he secured victory as an MLA, a commitment he adhered to until winning his inaugural assembly polls in 2013.

Expressing his gratitude to the party's high command for choosing him as the legislative party leader, the Chief Minister-designate said: "It’s the BJP only who can assign such a big responsibility to an ordinary party worker like me. The saga of development ushered by PM Narendra Modi and CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan will be furthered by me with the guiding slogan of 'MP Ke Mann Mein Modi Aur Modi Ke Mann Mein MP'."

This marks the second instance in 48 years, where a legislator from the Ujjain district became the state's chief minister. Previously, PC Sethi, a member of Congress representing the Ujjain Uttar seat, held the position for three years between 1972 and 1975.

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