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April 27, 2024

Shivraj Chouhan Poised for Delhi Shift as PM Signals Larger Role

Madhya Pradesh’s veteran leader and BJP stalwart, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, may be on the brink of a significant transition into national politics, following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent hints at his involvement in Delhi’s political landscape.

Chouhan, who served as Madhya Pradesh’s chief minister from 2005 to 2023, is now eyeing a seat in the Lok Sabha from his stronghold, Vidisha. Prime Minister Modi, speaking at an election rally, expressed his desire to bring Chouhan to Delhi, indicating a potential elevation for the seasoned politician.

Vidisha, an ancient city strategically located on the Bhopal-Delhi train route, holds significance for Chouhan, who has represented the constituency in the past. Despite being challenged by Congress candidate Pratap Bhanu Sharma, Chouhan remains a formidable contender, with Vidisha historically leaning towards the BJP.

Modi’s endorsement of Chouhan’s role in national politics was echoed during a rally in Madhya Pradesh’s Harda, where he praised Chouhan’s long-standing contribution to the party and governance. Chouhan, affectionately called ‘mama’ and ‘paon paon wale bhaiya’, has been an integral part of BJP’s state and central leadership.

Chouhan’s journey to Vidisha by a Delhi-bound train after the announcement of his candidature symbolizes his potential shift to national politics. His leadership led the BJP to a resounding victory in last year’s Assembly polls, although he was succeeded by Mohan Yadav in a surprise move.

Vidisha, a constituency represented by BJP stalwarts like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Sushma Swaraj, holds sentimental value for Chouhan, who sees it as a responsibility entrusted by Vajpayee himself. With a strong track record in both state and national politics, Chouhan aims to secure his sixth Lok Sabha term from Vidisha.

On the campaign trail, Chouhan, accompanied by his wife Sadhana Singh, engages with voters, particularly women, who form a significant part of his support base. However, criticism from the opposition, especially from Congress, alleges neglect of Vidisha’s development under Chouhan’s leadership.

Despite challenges, Chouhan’s popularity and influence remain formidable. Senior journalist Rasheed Kidwai suggests that Chouhan’s nomination from Vidisha was influenced by pressure from the RSS and women voters. Kidwai predicts a landslide victory for Chouhan, potentially making headlines nationally.

However, questions linger about Chouhan’s role within the Modi-Amit Shah leadership. While his victory seems likely, how he fits into the central leadership remains to be seen.

Vidisha Lok Sabha constituency, comprising eight assembly seats across four districts, holds significant electoral weight. With a majority of rural voters and a diverse caste composition, Vidisha remains a crucial battleground for political parties.

Chouhan’s legacy, coupled with his appeal to OBC and SC/ST communities, positions him strongly in Vidisha’s electoral landscape. With over 19 lakh eligible voters, the constituency’s demographics could sway the outcome of the Lok Sabha polls.

As Chouhan gears up for his Delhi journey, all eyes are on Vidisha, where his victory could mark a significant turning point in both state and national politics.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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